A fire drill at a school in northwestern China left more than 190 people injured, nine critically, after participants inhaled smoke used to simulate accident conditions, state media said Sunday.

More than 400 students at the middle school in Gansu province’s Tianshui city took part in the combined fire and air raid drill on Friday when the artificially generated smoke surged out of control, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“Many students began to cough and vomit after inhaling the smoke,” the report quoted the local government as saying. Officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday and the report did not say what type of smoke was used.

Several areas across China, including the capital Beijing and commercial hub Shanghai, sounded air raid sirens on Saturday in pre-announced drills, according to state media.

Tianshui City jurisdiction in Gansu. Photo: Wikicommons.

Organisers said the air raid drill in Beijing was aimed at educating people about national defence with one academic linking the exercise to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Xinhua said, which the country marked earlier this month with a military parade.

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