A tank full of chlorine being loaded onto a ship at Jordan’s Aqaba port, suddenly came crashing down and exploded killing 12 people and injuring more than 250 as toxic yellow fumes engulfed the entire area.
At least 10 people have died and more than 250 injured after a toxic gas leak at Aqaba Port in Jordan. pic.twitter.com/kjTDaPkelw— Suzanne (@suzanneb315) June 27, 2022
CCTV footage of the incident showed the container being hoisted into the air and then suddenly dropping onto a ship and exploding. A large cloud of bright yellow gas is seen spreading across the ground. Dockworkers are also seen scrambling to escape the toxic smoke.
The deputy director of Aqaba's port told AlMamlaka TV that an “iron rope” carrying the container broke while it was being loaded onto a ship. He said the container was filled with 25 to 30 tonnes of chlorine meant for export to Djibouti.
According to a BBC report, 199 of the injured were being treated at hospitals for chemical exposure. Some were in critical condition.
Following the incident, the authorities advised residents of Aqaba city, which is 16km north of the port, to stay inside and close windows and doors. As a precaution, Aqaba's southern beach was also evacuated. The Civil Defence Department sent specialist teams to the port to deal with the leak and clean-up operation.
Jordan's Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh is also reported to have flown to Aqaba to oversee an investigation into the incident.