December 03, 2004
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BBC says it was tricked into bogus story

London, England, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The BBC admitted Friday it was tricked into reporting that a U.S. company accepted responsibility for the world's worst industrial accident.

The British government-owned service had reported Dow Chemical was taking responsibility for the December 1984 chemical leak at Union Carbide's Bhopal plant that left 15,000 dead and was setting up a $12 billion compensation fund for survivors, Sky News reported.

Besides the fatalities, the accident affected 550,000 others. Dow, which bought Union Carbide in 2001, has long insisted all liabilities were settled with the Indian government with a $470 million payment.

The BBC, which even quoted a man alleging to be a Dow Chemical spokesman, admitted it had been duped.

The service "has fallen victim to an elaborate hoax," a spokesman said.

The embarrassing news came as hundreds of survivors, relatives of the dead and rights activists marched through Bhopal demanding payments, remembering victims and protesting the alleged presence of more chemicals in the area.

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