Horrifying moment crane drops cylinder of chlorine gas killing 12 in Jordan port

·2-min read
CCTV footage showed the moment of the toxic gas explosion in Aqaba - AFP
CCTV footage showed the moment of the toxic gas explosion in Aqaba - AFP

At least 12 people died and 251 were injured in a chlorine gas leak from a storage tank at Jordan's Aqaba port, officials and state media reported on Monday.

The leak came after a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas being exported to Djibouti fell while being transported, officials said.

Footage on state TV showed a large cylinder plunging from a crane onto a moored ship, causing a violent release of a yellow gas.

The force of the blast sent a truck rolling down the harbourside, while port workers were seen running for their lives. Nearby areas were evacuated and residents told to stay indoors.

The death toll had risen to 10, said Faisal al-Shaboul, a government spokesman, as he revised an initial toll of five. “The government formed a team headed by the interior minister to investigate the accident and take the necessary measures,” he said.

Bishr Khasawneh, the prime minister, and Mazen al-Faraya, the interior minister, travelled to the site of the accident, state media reported.

Amer al-Sartawy, a civil defence spokesman, earlier reported that 234 people were injured after the tank filled with toxic gas fell. Specialists and the hazardous substances team in the civil defence were dealing with the incident, he said.

According to Jordanian official sources, Aqaba's southern beach was evacuated following the incident.

The injured were transported to two state hospitals, one private facility and a field hospital.

Jamal Obeidat, the Aqaba health director, said hospitals in the area were full and “cannot receive more cases”, adding: “The injured people are in medium to critical condition.”

He called on residents of Aqaba to “stay in their homes and shut all windows as a precaution”, saying the chemical substance was very dangerous but not specifying what it was.

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