Kaohsiung, One person died, another remained unconscious and a third was also hospitalized in a sewer gas intoxication accident in Kaohsiung on Friday, according to city officials.
The two most serious cases, a husband and wife, showed no vital signs upon being rushed to hospital, while the third, a sister of the woman, was still conscious when taken to another hospital, said Chen Chun-fu (陳俊復), head of the Kaohsiung Labor Standards Inspection Office.
The three, all employed as cleaners, were located by firemen at around 9:43 a.m. after they received a report that the three victims were trapped in a four-meter-high underground culvert in a retail market in the city’s Sanmin District, said Chen Ming-tong (陳明桐), a city rescue squad chief.
According to Chen Ming-tong, the man, 48, lost consciousness after falling into the culvert full of hydrogen sulfide, a colorless chalcogen hydride gas, while trying to retrieve a dropped object.
In an effort to save him, his 43-year-old wife entered the culvert but also lost consciousness after inhaling too much of the toxic gas, he said, citing witness accounts.
The woman was later pronounced dead by the hospital, while the man regained his vital signs but remained unconscious, with a minimum Glasgow coma scale of three, he said.
His in-law, however, was rescued in time when also seeking to enter the culvert to save him, he said, adding that she was unhurt and had remained conscious as of press time.
The city government is investigating the culpability of the contractor who hired the three workers.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel