Visakhapatnam: As the victims and eyewitnesses shared their horror experience of LG Polymer gas leak, the stories of how hundreds of people managed to escape from the impact of toxic gas also began to come to light.
While youngsters who were awake late at night playing mobile games and watching movies were also helpful in alerting hundreds of people, a Hanuman ji flag has also shown the safe path saving hundreds of lives.
Observing the Hanuman flag on his house, Pratap Singh Tomer, who stays in Naidu Thota (Ravi Nagar), 1.8 km away from the plant, could read the wind direction.
The wind was blowing towards south west of the plant and hence he guided people to move towards the opposite direction, that is the north-east direction, where they can avail help.
His work experience of over 20 years in Qatar as a consultant with an LPG company and hundreds of emergency evacuation training helped him to stay calm and guide the people.
The people who ran away towards the south-west of the plant—Megadhri Gedda reservoir and railway track suffered a lot as the gas was spreading towards that direction.
“As the youngsters were trying to rush the victims on their bike, the honking sound disturbed my sleep. I came out of the home and saw people fleeing randomly. I could understand the situation. The smell was not there our side as it is on the north east side. I know that the polymer plant is nearby us. So, I googled what precautions should be taken when styrene gas gets leaked,” said Mr Tomer recounting the horrible experience of the day.
“I could guide hundreds of fleeing villagers to move towards Vepagunta (north east direction from leak epicenter). Vepagunta junction is the only large open safe access area which leads you in all four directions (used it as emergency muster point). This location is ideal for accessing hospital zone in Arilova, Mudsarlova," he added.
He went around telling everyone to drink plenty of water and remove clothes to neutralize the gas impact.
“Hundreds of youths were doing excellent rescue operation by putting themselves in line of fire, and not to forget several policemen on corona lockdown night,” said Tomer.