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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Plane “90 per cent” ruled out in mystery contamination

PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

ELISA VORSTER

[email protected]

Police are no closer to identifying the source of the “mystery” substance which caused South End School children to get sick yesterday but are now “90 per cent sure” a plane was not involved.

Ten children were hospitalised yesterday afternoon after smelling what children and residents in the area described as a rotten egg or sulphur type smell believed to have come from a plane releasing a “white substance”.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller told media today that detectives had since traced eight planes which were flying in the area withing a two hour period, including one which flew over the school around 2pm.

However, police had since talked to a number of adults who said they had not seen anything being dropped from the plane.

Investigators were seeking a small plane, possibly a Cessna, which was believed the be the plane at the centre of the contamination.

Police were yet to speak to the pilot of the plane which was now in the South Island, but Civil Aviation Authority had interviewed them.

“At this point that plane, although overhead, didn’t have anything to do with this incident.

“We are 90 per cent sure it wasn’t involved,” Miller said.

Police had since searched the school grounds and had not found anything physical to indicate the source of the material was present there.

They now believe the vapour could have come from State Highway 2 or nearby houses.

“It was airborne and was blowing through the school,” Miller said.

“At the moment to be quite honest it’s a bit of a mystery – we do not have a source for that smell.”

Miller said police would continue going door-to-door making enquiries to try and determine the source.

The school will be open as usual on Monday.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Mass psychogenic illness seems a pretty good explanation given the range of symptoms in a group of school children and the lack of any plausible toxic agent.

Comments are closed.

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