Mystery odour at Hong Kong secondary school sends nine students to hospital

Source of stench unknown; victims felt dizzy and nauseous but no evacuation needed

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 12:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2016, 12:42pm

Nine secondary students were taken to hospital after complaining of feeling unwell due to a pungent odour at their school in Ho Man Tin on Friday morning.

The odour was detected at YWCA Hioe Tjo Yoeng College on Sheung Wo Street at about 9.45am, according to police.

“Nine students felt unwell and needed hospital treatment, but there was no evacuation from the school,” a police spokeswoman said.

Five boys and four girls were taken conscious to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

A school staff member said those who felt unwell were from a Form Two class.

“They felt dizzy and nauseous,” she said.

“There was a stinky smell that spread into the school from outside ... We did not know the source. As a safety precaution, we called in firefighters.”

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The employee said that while no evacuation was needed, students from two or three classrooms had to go to other classrooms for their lessons.

Officers from the fire department and the Environmental Protection Department and staff from Towngas were called in, according to police.

The Fire Services Department sent four fire engines and four ambulances to the scene after receiving a report at 9.48am. The case was classified as a “multiple casualties incident”.

At midday, a department spokeswoman said firefighters equipped with gas detectors were still tracing the source of the odour.