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A release of deadly chlorine gas gas caused by a ‘chemical reaction’ at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre today sparked a major emergency in the capital amid reports of a number of casualties struggling to breathe.

More than 200 people have been evacuated from the sports arena and surrounding businesses and building sites with people in the Stratford area urged to stay at home and close their doors and windows. 

London Fire Brigade said a ‘high quantity of chlorine gas’ was released inside the Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London due to a ‘chemical reaction’. 

Chlorine gas, a substance so deadly it has been used as a weapon of war, can be fatal if breathed in. It also causes shortness of breath, blurred vision, burning pain in the nose, eyes and throat and and blisters on the skin.

The Aquatics Centre, yards from West Ham United’s world famous London Stadium, is being ventilated and the Mayor of London has urged people to avoid the area. 

‘Due to a chemical reaction a high quantity of chlorine gas was released. London Ambulance Service are treating a number of patients’, a London Fire Brigade spokesman said.  

He added: ‘Around 200 people were evacuated from the centre. While we ventilate the premises we would ask those residents in the immediate vicinity to close doors and windows’.

The London Ambulance Service were called the the Olympic Park in east London at just before 10am after a noxious substance leaked into the building containing the swimming pool and diving area.   

People described suffering headaches and struggling to breathe because of the fumes. Some were seen lying on their backs on the pavement.

22 ambulances and several fire engines at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre (right of picture) after people became ill

22 ambulances and several fire engines at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre (right of picture) after people became ill

22 ambulances and several fire engines at the London 2012 Aquatics Centre (right of picture) after people became ill

A major incident has been declared in the capital after the chemical reaction caused chlorine gas to be released

A major incident has been declared in the capital after the chemical reaction caused chlorine gas to be released

A major incident has been declared in the capital after the chemical reaction caused chlorine gas to be released 

Emergency services near the Aquatics Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, following a gas-related incident at the London Aquatics Centre

Emergency services near the Aquatics Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, following a gas-related incident at the London Aquatics Centre

Emergency services near the Aquatics Centre, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, following a gas-related incident at the London Aquatics Centre

A team of firefighters make plans to enter the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, which is being ventilated due to the release of a deadly gas

A team of firefighters make plans to enter the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, which is being ventilated due to the release of a deadly gas

A team of firefighters make plans to enter the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, which is being ventilated due to the release of a deadly gas

There was a mass evacuation of buildings and building sites in the area as the emergency services declared a major incident

There was a mass evacuation of buildings and building sites in the area as the emergency services declared a major incident

There was a mass evacuation of buildings and building sites in the area as the emergency services declared a major incident

Footage from the sky showed people being treated in the car park on coloured mats

Footage from the sky showed people being treated in the car park on coloured mats

Footage from the sky showed people being treated in the car park on coloured mats

The building, close to West Ham United's London Stadium (pictured right), has been evacuated and the Mayor of London has urged people to avoid the area

The building, close to West Ham United's London Stadium (pictured right), has been evacuated and the Mayor of London has urged people to avoid the area

The building, close to West Ham United’s London Stadium (pictured right), has been evacuated and the Mayor of London has urged people to avoid the area

A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park tweeted:  ‘There has been an incident @AquaticsCentre this morning involving the release of a gas. 

‘The area has been cordoned off and evacuated. We’re working with emergency services on site. There are a number of casualties with breathing difficulties being treated by @Ldn_Ambulance’.

Pictures from the scene showed more than 20 ambulances and three fire engines outside the sealed off building being supported by police. Footage filmed from helicopter showed paramedics treating people in the car park outside.

Police evacuated the swimming pool and cordoned off the surrounding area in Stratford, East London at around 10am. 

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘Officers were alerted by London Fire Brigade at 9.53am on Wednesday to a leak of noxious fumes at the Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Park, E20.

‘Officers and London Ambulance Service have also attended the scene. A number of people have been evacuated from the premises.’

The London Ambulance Service sent multiple resources in response to the incident.

A spokesman tweeted: ‘We are responding to an incident at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and have a number of resources on scene.’

The London Aquatics Centre - with its distinctive sloped roof - is a well known landmark in the Olympic Park

The London Aquatics Centre - with its distinctive sloped roof - is a well known landmark in the Olympic Park

The London Aquatics Centre – with its distinctive sloped roof – is a well known landmark in the Olympic Park

British Olympic diver Tom Daley performs a dive into the dive pool of the Aquatics Centre, venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It has been evacuated today

British Olympic diver Tom Daley performs a dive into the dive pool of the Aquatics Centre, venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It has been evacuated today

British Olympic diver Tom Daley performs a dive into the dive pool of the Aquatics Centre, venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It has been evacuated today

Pictures showed multiple police vehicles, ambulances and fire engines parked near the 114-metre slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged Londoners to avoid the area while he liaised with emergency services.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘I remain in close contact with our emergency services who are dealing with a gas-related incident at the London Aquatics Centre this morning.

‘A number of people are being treated by @Ldn-Ambulance. Please avoid the area which has been cordoned off and evacuated.’

Source: Daily Mail

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