JOHOR BARU, March 7 — A total of six students were hospitalised today after they were believed to have inhaled methane fumes from a chemical spill near the river of their school compound in Taman Pasir Putih, Pasir Gudang.
The teenage victims, five male and one female students, were from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Pasir Putih and Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Taman Pasir Putih.
According to the initial Johor Fire and Rescue Department report, one male student was reported to have fainted, while the remainder had bouts of vomiting.
The source of the methane fumes were believed to be from the nearby river where the two school’s were located.
Johor Fire and Rescue operations commander Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the department received an emergency call at about 5am.
He said four teams, with a hazardous material (Hazmat) team, assisted by the Pasir Gudang fire station rushed to the location immediately after receiving the distress call.
“The cause was from gas believed to be chemicals that was emitted from the river near SMK and SK Taman Pasir Putih.
“Based on information, we believe that gas is suspected of methane,” said Lokman.
In a brief statement, the Johor Fire and Rescue Department said the evacuation of the area involves distances of up to 500 metres.
Both the primary and secondary schools have more than 1,400 students and teachers.
The affected students have been brought to the Sultan Ismail Hospital for further treatment.