Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fumes kill two Danes in Jeddah


Two young Danish children have died in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah after inhaling poisonous pesticide fumes while they slept, local media say.

The Okaz newspaper said the children, aged six and 10, and their parents woke up complaining of stomach pains.

An ambulance took them to hospital, but the children did not survive. Their parents remain in intensive care.

Investigators say the fumes came from a house that had been sprayed with a pesticide meant for agricultural use.

Traces of the pesticide, aluminium phosphide, were found on dishes in the next door house in the al-Masarrah district, whose occupants had gone on holiday after having their house sprayed, reports said.

The family inhaled an extremely dangerous insecticide for several hours during sleep
Sami Badawoud
Director of Health Affairs in Jeddah

The head of forensics in Jeddah, Col Saleh Zowayd, said there had been six similar deaths this month and that the pesticide was banned from use in homes.

"It is classified as a dangerous pesticide of the first class, and is only permitted to be used on farms and in open areas," he told Okaz.

Sami Badawoud, a senior health ministry official in the city, said the pesticide "had already been recalled from the market following reports of its dangers".

The children's father was an employee of the Danish company, Arla Foods, which has described their deaths as a "terrible tragedy".

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