Puri, Jan 6: At least four workers died and six others fell ill due to toxic gas leakage at the coal chemical unit of the Rourkela Steel Plant in Odisha on Wednesday.

In an official statement, the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) extended deepest condolences to the kin of the deceased.

“In an unfortunate incident at the SAIL Rourkela Steel Plant, four contract workers engaged at the Plant’s Coal Chemicals Department (CCD) have succumbed to a suspected gas leakage incident,” the SAIL said.

The four were contractual workers engaged by a private company, they said. “According to a preliminary report, the four workers died due to emission of carbon monoxide gas from the unit,” the officials said. The deceased were identified as Ganesh Chandra Paila (55), Rabindra Sahu (59), Abhimanyu Sah (33), and Bramhananda Panda (51).

“The workers felt unwell and were immediately rushed to the ICU of Ispat General Hospital (IGH) at Rourkela for treatment. The SAIL family is deeply saddened by the loss of lives and stands strong with the affected families at this time of grief,” the statement added.

A high-level committee has been formed to inquire into the cause of the incident and all emergency protocols have been immediately activated in the plant.