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Mon, Nov 19, 2018 13:10
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Management Side
Man dies, others critical after Norske Skog paper mill accident near Albury

AUSTRALIA (From news reports) -- One man has died and two more remain in a critical condition after being exposed to toxic gas at a paper mill in southern NSW.

Emergency services were called to the Norske Skog site at Ettamogah, near Albury, about 1.30pm Thursday, where they found multiple people unconscious and in the midst of a cardiac arrest after being exposed to "fumes".

"We've had one pass away - deceased, two remain in a critical condition," a spokeswoman for Albury Wodonga Health said. "The 12 that came in with minor injuries are all stable and will be discharged tonight."

NSW Ambulance said they sent "multiple paramedic units" to the incident, which involved evacuating more than 150 people.

"We were responding to reports a number of workers had been overcome by fumes," a spokeswoman said.

"As a result of that job, we transported four men to Albury Base Hospital, three of those in a critical condition."

She said two of the men were in cardiac arrest at the scene and a third was unconscious. A fourth man was conscious and breathing, and was taken to hospital for assessment.

A spokeswoman for NSW Police Force confirmed "a number of people" were taken to hospital.

The Norske Skog Albury plant produces around 274,000 tonnes of newsprint each year. News Corp, publisher of The Australian, is one of its customers.

SafeWork NSW confirmed it had been notified about the incident and had started an investigation.

In a statement, a spokesman for Norske Skog said an employee had died after a gas leak.

"The mill's Emergency Response Team and emergency services attended the scene immediately after the incident occurred and assisted all workers," the statement said. "Tragically, one employee did not regain consciousness. Two workers remain in hospital.

"The Albury Mill has been evacuated and emergency services are in control of the site. SafeWork NSW has been on site today and will be investigating the incident. Norske Skog is fully cooperating with all investigations."

General manager Milo Foster said in the statement he extended his and the company's deepest sympathies to the employee's family.

"Our first concern is to our employees, their families and everyone affected by this tragic accident," he said. "We will provide support to those affected and work with authorities to investigate what happened."

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