Police probe cause of sore eyes, vomiting on England coast

LONDON (AP) — Part of a British seaside town was cordoned off for several hours Sunday in what police called a “hazardous material incident” after people reported experiencing vomiting and sore eyes.

The Sussex Police force said “a small number of people” reported the symptoms in Worthing, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of London on England’s south coast. A section of the seafront was cordoned off for several hours, and the fire service advised residents to shut their windows and doors.

Police said two people were taken to hospital but later discharged “and advised to go home, wash their clothes and have a shower.”

Kitesurfing instructor Christine Johnston said she was setting up on the beach when she and her students were told to leave by beach patrol officers who were covering their mouths with pieces of clothing.

“My eyes were a bit sore and itchy, and a friend who was on the beach said she felt her eyes were sore, too,” Johnston said.

Authorities did not provide information on a suspected cause of the incident.

Local lawmaker Tim Loughton tweeted that it involved reports of “bathers affected by some sort of chemical type irritants.”

In 2017, a mysterious chemical haze left scores of people on the coast about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away with streaming eyes, sore throats and breathing problems.

An investigation found that the most likely cause of that incident was emissions from a passing ship, lost cargo or a wreck in the English Channel.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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