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Dozens of students poisoned by gas in Tbilisi

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, November 6
Seven pupils of Tbilisi Public School number 62 were taken to Iashvili hospital on Thursday after displaying the symptoms of gas poisoning. About 20 others underwent treatment at the school, the Emergency Situations Service reported.

The school authorities called for aid as teachers and students began feeling dizzy and sick during classes. Emergency services evacuated the school and law enforcers started investigating the site and questioning the students. The investigators and doctors suggested that the schoolchildren had been poisoned with tear gas, presumably released by older students. “Specialists are working to detect what kind of gas caused the poisoning,” Emergency Situations Service Director Temur Giorgadze said.

Education Minister Nika Gvaramia visited the poisoned students at hospital later on Thursday. “The condition of the pupils is not serious, however such jokes cannot go unpunished. In such cases there is a specific responsibility for the schools under criminal law,” Gvaramia said “I call on students, and especially their parents and schoolmasters, to show more responsibility,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile the Emergency Situations Service reported another incident in Tbilisi. A rescue brigade found four corpses, of a man, woman and two children, in a block in the Temka district on the outskirts of Tbilisi. The experts said they had died due to gas poisoning. “We got a call on Wednesday that the neighbours had been unable to open the door to one of the flats in Temka,” Emergency Situations Service chief Temur Giorgadze said. Experts are working to find out the exact reasons for their death, he said.

Relatives and neighbours of the deceased have claimed that they had noticed a smell of gas in the entrance hall of the house a day before the incident and called the relevant services. The neighbours claimed they did not receive an adequate response to their request. KazTransGaz officials denied the allegations, saying that they had not received any calls from residents of that house. “An investigation will study who was calling and what number they were calling. If anyone is guilty of anything, they will be punished,” Giorgi Lepsveridze, Deputy Chief Engineer of KazTransGaz, said.