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Brighton Journal | 22nd October 2019

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Police evacuate Worthing seafront after hazardous material incident

Police evacuate Worthing seafront after hazardous material incident
Elizabeth Richardson

A two-mile cordon was set up along Worthing seafront on Sunday following a “hazardous material incident”. The incident left a number of bathers on Worthing beach vomiting and suffering from eye sores.

Local police urged visitors to evacuate the beach. Two people were taken to hospital following the incident, and others were advised to shut all windows and doors, or stay away from the area completely.

The cordon along Worthing seafront has now been lifted, and those taken to hospital have been discharged. Sussex police said:

A small number of people have reported symptoms including sore eyes and vomiting, two of whom were taken to hospital. They have both since been discharged, and advised to go home, wash their clothes and have a shower.

Sussex police have also encouraged anyone suffering from similar symptoms to do the same, and to use copious amounts of water to wash their eyes.

The force also stated:

We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during the incident. We are following up a number of lines of enquiry and the investigation into what happened is ongoing.

Former windsurfing world champion, Christine Johnson, was at Worthing beach yesterday preparing to kite surf. She said that she was told by beach patrol to leave immediately:

They came along on their buggy and said we should leave with immediate effect because there had been an incident. They said a few people had been hospitalised. They were covering their mouths with clothing.

I did ask [what was happening] but they wouldn’t comment.

They told us they were going to go down the area affected, between Lancing and Worthing. We went up to the cafe and saw quite a lot of movement of police cars and an ambulance.

It is not know what the “hazardous material” was. The West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are continuing to work to assess the scene at Worthing seafront.

Police are also currently investigating the source in the chemical incident, with a police spokesman stating that “the investigation is ongoing, and we will release more information as soon as we are able to.”

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