Cairo: Forty people were taken to hospitals in the Egyptian town of Tanta suffering from choking after a leak from a detergent factory, local officials said on Saturday.

Those hospitalised showed symptoms of suffocation and poisoning after they inhaled leaked chemicals from the factory, Egyptian media quoted the officials as saying.

The leak occurred Friday night after a tank burst out in the privately owned factory in Tanta, some 90km north of Cairo.

The victims were workers at the factory and people who happened to walk near the site, private newspaper Al Watan reported.

Emergency service teams rushed to the scene and transported the affected people to hospitals.

They were later discharged after recovery, Dr Ahmad Ghoneim, the head of the town’s university hospitals, said.

“All of them are in good health. There was no acute case among them,” he added in a press statement.

Police arrested the factory’s owner for questioning over the incident, according to a local security official.