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Fumes Leak at Sydney Airport

September 13, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Poisonous fumes escaped into part of Sydney’s international airport Wednesday, and 20 people were treated, officials said.

Ambulance and fire crews were called to the departure terminal shortly before 10 a.m. (7 p.m. EDT Tuesday) in response to a ``major gas leak,″ said Andrew Hall, a spokesman for the New South Wales state Ambulance Service.

Of the 20 people who were treated, two were hospitalized, he said.

``Most have been treated with oxygen and saline in their eyes to ease the irritation,″ said Caroline Hancock, another ambulance spokeswoman.

Airport spokesman Peter Gibbs said the leak would have no effect on the thousands of passengers arriving for the Olympics, which begin Friday. No flights were disrupted, he said.

The airport is handling its heaviest workload ever as tourists, athletes and Olympic officials stream into Australia.

Gibbs said the exact nature of the fumes was not known, and that there was no known source for natural gas to leak into the area, which was near gift shops.

``Several people have been affected by some sort of fumes at one part of the international terminal on the air side, that is, the other side of customs,″ Gibbs said.

Airport officials made a public announcement in the terminal asking passengers not to go to the immigration area. Passengers were told to stay in the departure lounge or rerouted to other areas.

There was no indication the fumes were caused by a fire, he said.

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