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2 fishermen overcome by rotting-fish gas in Maine

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August 24, 2013 12:24 AM EST | AP


ROCKLAND, Maine — Decaying herring inside the fish hold of an 89-foot trawler created enough noxious gas to sicken two Maine fishermen and leave one of them unconscious.

Firefighters say the unconscious fisherman was flown by helicopter to a hospital on Friday. They say the other is being treated at another hospital.

Poisonous hydrogen sulfide built up in the fish hold after the Starlight trawler offloaded its herring.

The first fisherman was overcome and lost consciousness while climbing down a ladder into the hold. The second became incapacitated while trying to help him. A third crew member realized what was happening and used a breathing apparatus to rescue them.

Firefighters say the rotting-egg smell was strong and their equipment registered dangerous levels.