View Full Version : On this day: 3 December

03-12-04, 11:44

1984: Hundreds die in Bhopal chemical accident

Hundreds of people have died from the effects of toxic gases which leaked from a chemical factory near the central Indian city of Bhopal.

The accident happened in the early hours of this morning at the American-owned Union Carbide Pesticide Plant three miles (4.8 km) from Bhopal.

Mr Y P Gokhale, managing director of Union Carbide in India, said that methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) had escaped when a valve in the plant's underground storage tank broke under pressure.

This caused a deadly cloud of lethal gas to float from the factory over Bhopal, which is home to more than 900,000 people - many of whom live in slums.

Chaos and panic broke out in the city and surrounding areas as tens of thousands of people attempted to escape.

More than 20,000 people have required hospital treatment for symptoms including swollen eyes, frothing at the mouth and breathing difficulties.

Thousands of dead cats, dogs, cows and birds litter the streets and the city's mortuaries are filling up fast.

Bhopal resident, Ahmed Khan, said: "We were choking and our eyes were burning. We could barely see the road through the fog, and sirens were blaring.

"We didn't know which way to run. Everybody was very confused.

"Mothers didn't know their children had died, children didn't know their mothers had died and men didn't know their whole families had died."

The Union Carbide factory was closed immediately after the accident and three senior members of staff arrested.

Full old story bbc.co.uk (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/3/newsid_2698000/2698709.stm)

In Context

This was one of the world's worst industrial accidents.

Nearly 3,000 people died from the effects of the poisonous gas in the days following the disaster.

Estimates say that some 50,000 people were treated in the first few days suffering terrible side-effects, including blindness, kidney and liver failure.

Campaigners say nearly 20,000 others have since died from the effects of the leak.

Investigations into the disaster revealed that something had gone fundamentally wrong with a tank storing lethal methyl isocyanate (MIC).

In 1989 Union Carbide, which is now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, paid the Indian Government £470m in a settlement which many described as woefully inadequate.

But in 1999 a voluntary group in Bhopal which believed not enough had been done to help victims, filed a lawsuit in the United States claiming Union Carbide violated international law and human rights.

In November 2002 India said it was seeking the extradition of former Union Carbide boss Warren Anderson from the US.

Mr Anderson faces charges of "culpable homicide" for cost-cutting at the plant which is alleged to have compromised safety standards.

In October 2004, the Indian Supreme Court approved a compensation plan drawn up by the state welfare commission to pay nearly $350m to more than 570,000 victims of the disaster.

tlr online
03-12-04, 15:14
Thanks Net. I was only 7 at the time. :(

03-12-04, 15:32
Yes, thanks for making me feel old :D

tlr online
03-12-04, 15:37
Quel âge avez-vous ?

03-12-04, 16:07
I was 14 at the time (and remember it clearly), 34 now of course.

Marcus T
05-12-04, 01:03
I was 9 (most of that year). Can't say I remember that incident too well, but the only thing on my mind back then was drawing pictures and playing on my parents organ ;)

05-12-04, 03:34
I wasnt born. In fact I wasnt even a fetus.

Wow, I never ever knew about that. Thats absolutely horrible. :(

05-12-04, 03:52
I wasn't even born then either. My mom or dad probably knows about this. Im not sure since they lived here when it happened. Im pretty sure my grandparents know though since they lived in India all their life.

05-12-04, 09:10
thanks neteru you remind me this terrible accident! :(
i was 24 and i remember very well the panic all over the world, and the reactions of the people, because as we learn this accident happened because union carbite was not using good protections for this chemical factory!
many times in the world and greece ofcource, happen accidents of any kind,that cost the life of many workers, because some rich people want to be richer,and they dont give a cent for people's protection! http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/c-1.gif

05-12-04, 11:04
I don't think I remember this incident... But I do remember the other one in Chernobyl, three years later. I guess it's cause the media here made more fuss about Chernobyl, because it was closer to Greece and therefore affected us more.

[ 05. December 2004, 11:05: Message edited by: Nicky ]

Marcus T
05-12-04, 12:53
Indeed, Chernobyl I do remember, 1986. It's "next doors".


[ 05. December 2004, 13:01: Message edited by: Marcus T ]