UK & World News
NI: 'Major Incident' As Toxic Gas Escapes
The emergency services in Northern Ireland are dealing with "a major incident" after a toxic gas used to kill rodents escaped from a ship docked at a harbour at Warrenpoint in County Down.
The toxic gas is aluminium phosphide, a pesticide used to kill small mammals such as moles and rodents, which escaped after cargo on the vessel became wet and unstable.
Eighteen people are being treated and a 50m cordon has been set up.
Police in the Irish Republic have been informed of the possibility that the chemical compound could drift into their area.
"It is believed that there are five casualties suffering from the effects of exposure to the gas," said a Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman.
Sinn Fein Warrenpoint councillor Michael Ruane said a specialist large ambulance service truck was parked near the incident.
Emergency services gathered in the main square and the town hall was made available if people had to be evacuated.
Mr Ruane said: "The incident is confined to the harbour at this moment in time. The fire service and police seem to be keeping well back from it.
"There are a number of boats in the harbour - there are a number of small mussel boats and some larger vessels."
A PSNI spokesman said: "Police are advising nearby residents to close all windows and doors.
"Due to the north-east wind blowing at present, residents in Omeath and Carlingford (across Carlingford Lough in the Irish Republic) are also being advised to close all windows and doors."
The ambulance service said 15 of its vehicles have been deployed.