Two people hospitalized following big stink near Riga Free Port

On the evening of September 12 two people were hospitalized with breathing problems after a huge stink broke out in the Vecmīlgrāvis neighborhood near Riga Free Port, reports Latvian Radio. 

The State Environment Service still has not located the source of the stink. It broke out yesterday at about 8 p.m. with emergency services receiving 400 calls from concerned locals.

People living by the Riga Free Port often face stink clouds from the nearby port terminals, but this case was unprecedented, locals say. 

"Yesterday there was a gas leak over the whole Vecmīlgrāvis neighborhood. A suffocating, stinking gas... My head was spinning, I could not breathe fully and was nauseous," said Konstantīns Zorins, a local.

While locals did not need emergency assistance, two employees at the local Rīgas universālais termināls had to receive medical assistance.

"They complained of nausea and headache. But these people are already home," said Ilze Bukša, a representative of the State Emergency Medical Service.

While several authorities, including firemen, the port police and environmental services were looking for the source of the stink, they have not succeeded so far.

The State Environment Service thinks that mercaptan, a chemical often added to natural gas to make it easier to detect. Medics say it is not harmful to human health per se. 

Locals described the smell as a melange between the odor of sweat, rotten eggs and garlic. 

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