NEARLY 2,000 people were told to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed amid concerns a plume of toxic gas would fall on popular tourist villages.
Residents of Carlingford and Omeath in Co Louth were issued with the warning yesterday morning.
The alarm was raised at Warrenpoint Docks – on the other side of Carlingford Lough from the villages – at around 11am after toxic gas used to kill small mammals escaped from a ship docked at the harbour.
Eighteen people were being treated last night in Co Down after the gas, aluminium phosphide, leaked from the vessel. The gas is a pesticide used to kill moles and rodents.
After the leak, it had been feared the gas could spread across the lough to Carlingford and Omeath. However, winds slackened and the gas plume did not cross the Border.
A number of homes in Warrenpoint were also evacuated and a 50-metre cordon has been set up around the ship.