Four Poles were found unconscious in a cargo hold as a ship was unloaded at Hanstholm Havn in northwestern Jutland on Tuesday evening, DR reports.
One of them has since died, while the other three woke up later in a hospital in Hjørring.
Trapped inside a cargo hold
“At 18:30 we got a call that several unconscious men were found inside a cargo hold of a ship transporting wooden pellets,” Anders Olesen, the duty officer at the Central and West Jutland Police, told DR.
A fifth man managed to climb out of the cargo hold before the rescue services arrived at the location.
Inspectors of the Danish Working Environment Authority are now investigating if all the safety rules were being adhered to.
Inert gas asphyxiation
Olesen believes the Poles, who are believed to be cargo handlers, might have suffered from inert gas asphyxiation.
“It is reasonable to believe carbon dioxide emissions from the cargo caused this,” Olesen noted.
“There have been similar incidents of unconscious people found in confined spaces before.”
Rescuers had to hospitalised
Two men, who were trying to rescue the four Poles, had to be hospitalised because they had problems breathing.
According to Olesen, they might have suffocated due to a lack of oxygen or been mildly poisoned by dangerous gases.
Both of them are doing well now.