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Two people have been flown to Wellington Hospital in critical condition after inhaling hydrogen sulfide at a tanning factory in Wanganui.

Another 19 people were exposed to the gas, and taken for examination at Wanganui Hospital,  reports The New Zealand Herald

Hydrogen sulfide is a colourless, poisonous, flammable gas which has a strong smell, similar to rotten eggs and can affect lungs and breathing.

People in the area said the first they knew of the incident was a very strong smell of sulphur.

One local resident said the smell was "enough to make you dry retch'' while a shopowner nearby said: “I heard the sirens and came outside, and that's when I noticed the bad smell. It was very strong.''

The condition of the 19 other people taken to Wanganui Hospital is not yet known.

Image via Getty


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