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SEPANG: The gas leak reported at Sepang Aircraft Engineering’s Southern Support Zone of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) has been traced to an abandoned skid tank, left unattended for nine years.

KLIA police chief ACP Azman Shari’at (pic) said the leaking gas has been identified as methyl mercaptan or methanethiol, a colourless flammable gas with a distinct odour resembling rotten eggs or cabbage.

Azman said exposure to methyl mercaptan was not fatal but caused nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches.

The Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia and the Hazmat team carried out investigations and inspections at the site and confirmed that the area was safe.

“There were no injuries or serious accidents, and as of 6pm, we can confirm that KLIA is safe from any threat of disaster. The public is advised to remain calm and not be alarmed,” he told members of the media at the site of the incident on Thursday (June 27).

Azman said the leak was from an abandoned skid tank’s valve.

He added that Gas Malaysia had taken the necessary action to close the leaking portion and carried out cleansing treatment in the area since the smell could spread to about 2km if the wind was strong.

“The operation to patch the leak and carry out cleansing work is still ongoing to ensure the safety of the area and people,” he said.

Earlier, about 1,000 people, mostly from the Malaysia Airlines Engineering and Academy, were evacuated from the cargo terminal area following the gas leak incident in the morning.

He added that Malaysia Airlines staff who operate 24 hours will return to the location and carry out their duties tonight to prevent the possibility of flight delays.

The gas leak incident was reported in the morning when the state operations centre received a distress call through MERS 999 at 11.23am.

Following the gas leak, 39 victims were rescued, with most treated at the location while 14 were taken to the KLIA Air Disaster Unit, and one victim was sent to Putrajaya Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, JBPM Selangor assistant director of operations Ahmad Mukhlis Mukhtar said the hazardous reading at the location of the skid tank was 600 parts per million (ppm), while the surrounding area registered a normal reading of 150 ppm.

“The skid tank will be removed and sent to the disposal site after the leak is patched up,” he said. — Bernama