22 Covid patients die in India after oxygen supply disrupted
The tragedy comes as India battles severe shortages of medical supplies during a fierce second wave of coronavirus infections.
The 30-minute leak from an oxygen tanker stationed outside Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, about 200 kilometres north of Mumbai, cut off supply to the ventilators of more than 60 critically ill patients.
Weeping relatives gathered at the hospital, which was treating 170 Covid-19 patients in total, many of whom were moved to other facilities after the incident occurred.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the leak, which took place in Maharashtra state -- the epicentre of the country's Covid outbreak -- was "heart-wrenching".
"Anguished by the loss of lives due to it," he tweeted.
The state's chief minister Uddhav Thackeray ordered an inquiry.
The deaths come a week after Thackeray asked Indian pilots to airlift oxygen supplies to the region to alleviate severe shortages as Covid-19 infection numbers climb.