A chlorine leak from a water station in the Upper Egyptian province of Assiut caused labored breathing and asphyxiation in over 50 people on Saturday evening, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.
The toxic gas allegedly leaked into one of the pipes transferring drinking water at the power station, according to privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper, and caused severe choking. Those affected had to receive treatment from the Qasiya state hospital.
Chairperson of the Drinking Water and Sewage Company in Assiut, Mohamed Salah, said that chlorine gas was being transferred to the water station when the container it was in broke, causing the contamination.
The governor of Assiut, Yasser al-Dawuqy, referred those responsible for the water station to the Qasiya center on Sunday and opened an investigation into the leak, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
Those transferred to investigation included the station manager, the chief operating officer on shift at the time, and personnel responsible for safety measures at the facility, Al-Shorouk newspaper added.
Incidents of mass injury resulting from technical failures at government-owned services are not uncommon, and there have been a number of incidents in which contaminated drinking water has caused illness.
In April, over 300 people were sick in Sharqiya governorate as a result of the contamination of drinking water.