Police report on fatal Samsung plant gas leak suggests local residents may have been affected

Police report on fatal Samsung plant gas leak suggests local residents may have been affected

New information about a gas leak that occurred at a Samsung plant in Korea last month has emerged, conflicting Samsung’s own version of events which caused one fatality and four injuries.

One Samsung worker died after a pipeline melted once, leaking the gas, before it leaked a second time, affecting those that were working to contain the issue.

The Yonhap reportsvia Endadget — that up to 10 liters of diluted hydrofluoric acid were found to have leaked out from pipes located outside of the Hwaseong-based facility. That goes against claims from Samsung; here’s what the company said after the incident, when it noted that the situation was “contained” within the plant:

“A small amount of diluted hydrofluoric acid leaked early Monday morning during maintenance at one of the gas and chemical supply systems at the Hwaseong site.”

This is the police statement published by Yonhap today:

“Hydrofluoric acid has been leaked outside of the chip plant after an analysis of CCTV footage taken inside the Central Chemical Supply System (CCSS) of the chip plant.”

Samsung has already come under fire for being slow to report the incident. Police fined the Korean electronics giant, which posted profits of $8.3 billion in Q4, a paltry 1 million won (less than $1,000) for the delay in notifying authorities. Now it seems that the company’s statement did not reflect the full facts.

Hydrofluoric acid is a poison that can cause severe damage to lungs, eye corneas and bones; when concentrated it can trigger a cardiac arrest, or even death. According to local environmental groups, the leak caused a rise in the concentration of the acid in a 2 kilometer radius around the plant. Police say that they are unable to rule out the possibility that the “tens of thousands” of residents in the area could have been affected in some way by the incident.

Samsung pledged to commission a full investigation and make changes to its processes in response to the incident, but these new revelations are sure to prompt further scrutiny.

Headline image via Jung Yeon-Je / Getty Images

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