While working in a metal-plating plant in northern England a man managed to fall into a vat of liquid cyanide.
The incident occurred early Thursday morning at Karas Industry Ltd. in Manchester.
Health and safety officials investigating the incident said the man, 62, had been at work inside the vat when he fell into the cyanide, a poisonous chemical sometimes used in electroplating.
"He may have been overcome by the fumes," a spokesman for Britain's Health and Safety Executive said on condition of anonymity in line with departmental policy.
Police said the man was pulled from the vat by two co-workers, and that he was then taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition.
A woman who picked up the phone at the company said the only person authorized to speak about the incident was on vacation.