KOTA KINABALU - Traffic along a busy road here came to a standstill early yesterday when "smoke" billowed from a tanker near the Putatan town, about 6km from the city.
The "smoke" turned out to be liquid nitrogen that was leaking from the tanker, which was transporting the cargo to the Papar district.
The tanker driver, who wanted to be identified only as Patrick, said he became aware of the leak at about 7am, and immediately pulled over to the side of Kota Kinabalu-Lok Kawi trunk road and alerted his employer as well as his company's mechanics.
In the meantime, frantic motorists called the Fire and Rescue Department, which dispatched 22 firemen and three fire engines to the scene.
Penampang fire station officer-in-charge Jamaluddin Hussin said that with the help of police personnel, they kept traffic about 50m away from the tanker until the pressure within the tank eased.
"We had to be careful as liquid nitrogen would have an adverse effect on human skin," he said, adding that the operation was over in about an hour.