1986: Hundreds gassed in Cameroon lake disaster
Retrospect of 21 August 1986, Nyos of the Menchum Division of the North.West Region of Cameroon.
At least 1,200 people were feared dead in Cameroon, West Africa, after a cloud of lethal gas escaped from a volcanic lake.
The tragedy happened at Lake Nyos, about 200 miles (322 km) northwest of the capital, Yaoundé, during the night.
Most of the victims died in their sleep.
The gas killed all living things within a 15-mile (25km) radius of the lake, and the area is still highly contaminated.
It is not yet known what caused the gas to escape the lake, which lies in a volcanic crater.
Government officials say the most likely cause is a volcanic eruption in Lake Nyos which created a fissure, leaking gas into the atmosphere.
But independent scientists say this is unlikely, as the volcano is believed to be extinct.
Cameroon radio is reporting that gases are continuing to escape from the lake.
Rescue teams wearing gas masks have been rushing cylinders of oxygen to the remote area to help any who may have survived (WWW.BBC.COM)
Download in PDF Re-visiting Lake Nyos 24 years after a presidential disaster
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