Chemical incident at Stansted

AMBULANCE crews have examined 17 people and taken four of them to hospital following a chemical incident at Stansted Airport today (Thursday).A noxious gas was reported near the men's toilets in the main terminal shortly after 7am.

By Sharon Asplin

FOUR people were taken to hospital yesterday after a chemical incident at Stansted Airport.

Ambulance crews examined 17 people and took four members of staff to Princes Alexandra Hospital in Harlow following the incident which is though to have been caused by a leaking “personal protection canister” containing CS gas.

A noxious gas was reported near the men's toilets and a restaurant area in the main terminal at about 7.15am.

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The gas caused bystanders eyes to stream and two senior managers and two paramedics from Essex Ambulance Service went to the scene, while police and fire personnel also attended.

At about 9am, Essex Ambulance Service was stood down as no-one appeared to be affected by the gas.

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However, a short while later more people reported suffering from streaming eyes as a result of the incident.

An operations manager, an ambulance and a rapid response car went to the airport.

Paramedic Steve Chivers said: “A total of 17 casualties presented themselves for us to examine, four of whom needed to go to hospital as a result of streaming eyes and sore throats.”

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said an investigation into the cause of the patients' symptoms was ongoing but it was thought the fumes were caused by a self-defence device, such as CS gas spray.

Although a section of the terminal was cordoned off, normal operations at the airport were not affected.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “A thorough search of the area was made and a personal protection canister was later found in a bin.”

She said the canister, which can legally be carried in Europe, but not taken on a plane, would now be investigated to see if it was the cause of the problem.

No flights were affected and normal operations resumed by about 12.30pm.

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