Twenty two Covid-19 patients died after an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in India's Maharashtra state's Nashik city on Wednesday causing oxygen supply to be halted for around 30 minutes.
All the victims were on ventilators and in need of constant oxygen supply.
The incident occurred at the city's Zakir Hussain Hospital which is a Covid-dedicated facility. Around 150 patients were either oxygen-dependant or on ventilators, reports the NDTV.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope promised the government will look into the matter and conduct a thorough probe.
"As per the information available with us, 11 patients who were on ventilators at the hospital in Nashik have died. The leakage was spotted at the oxygen tank which was supplying oxygen to these patients. The interrupted supply could be linked to the deaths of the 11 patients in the hospital," Tope said.
"We will issue a statement later after the investigation is over," he added.
Visuals from the hospital show rapidly leaking gas from the tanker and covering the surrounding areas in white fumes.
Panic struck the patients and their family members as the oxygen supply was stopped. Heartwrenching visuals show families trying to help the patients as they gasp for breath.
The gas had spread throughout the area causing widespread panic. Fire trucks were rushed to the spot to stop the leak. Videos show water being sprayed to control the leak; the firefighting team also wore protective gear to go in to stop the leak.
Around 31 patients out of 80 who need oxygen have been shifted to other hospitals.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Majeed Memon tweeted that people responsible for the leak must be punished
"Leakage of Oxygen from tanker in Nasik has caused loss of several litres of oxygen and panic in the Hospital. Those responsible for negligence must be identified and punished," Memon tweeted.