At least 22 COVID-19 patients have died after an oxygen tank leaked at a hospital in India, according to multiple reports.
On Wednesday, the incident occurred at Dr. Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Nashik city, Maharashtra state, CBS News reported. There, oxygen supply to the ventilators of COVID-19 patients was stopped for around 30 minutes due to the leak.
All 22 of the patients who died were on ventilator life support, CBS News added.
Rajesh Tope — the health minister of Maharashtra — confirmed the news in a televised statement, per The Guardian, stating, "Patients who were on ventilators at the hospital in Nashik have died."
"The leakage was spotted at the tank supplying oxygen to these patients," he added. "The interrupted supply could be linked to the deaths of the patients in the hospital."
In a statement to CBS News, the police officer in charge of the investigation, Sajan Sonawane, said: "The pipes that connected the hospital's ventilator system to a big oxygen tank leaked this morning. While the hospital staff fixed the leaks, which took about 35 minutes, the oxygen supply to the ventilators remained cut off … 22 patients are confirmed dead."
Sonawane added that police have begun a formal investigation into the leak.
Following the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a statement on Twitter reacting to the somber news.
"The tragedy at a hospital in Nashik because of oxygen tank leakage is heart-wrenching," he tweeted on Wednesday morning. "Anguished by the loss of lives due to it. Condolences to the bereaved families in this sad hour."
In New Delhi, India's capital, four other hospitals reported oxygen shortages on Wednesday as well, CBS News reported.
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