A probe into a chemical leak in a classroom at Effingham Primary School is underway after it left about 30 learners gasping for breath as emergency services treated them for gas inhalation, on Tuesday.

Rescue Care paramedics arrived with other emergency services on the scene to find chaos. Operations director at Rescue Care, Garrith Jamieson, said, “Approximately 30 children were treated for suspected pepper spray inhalation at the scene. Some children went through to nearby hospitals and clinics for further medical intervention. At this stage, the exact substance inhaled is unknown, however, it is suspected to be pepper spray which was sprayed in a classroom.

All the parents were notified by the school management and the affected area was cleared. SAPS were on scene and will be investigating further.” Netcare 911 media liaison officer, Shawn Herbst, said, “The children had suffered the effects of an unknown gas resulting in coughing with a burning and itchy upper airway. The school children affected were removed to a safe, well ventilated area while medics assessed the patients. The eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services were on scene to assess for any hazards.”