A toxic gas that leaked from a container in Jordan’s port of Aqaba, killing at least 12 people and injuring 260 others, was chlorine, Jordan’s coordinating emergency relief agency said on Monday.
Video from a nearby surveillance camera, carried by state TV al-Mamlaka, showed the container being transported by a crane before it fell, releasing a cloud of yellow gaseous material onto a ship and into the port. The video showed people fleeing after the container fell.
“At 4:15 pm on Monday, a chlorine gas leak occurred in the port of Aqaba due to the collapse and explosion of a tank containing this substance,” said a statement from the National Center for Security and Crisis Management.
A team of hazardous materials experts from the Jordanian Civil Defense was dispatched to the scene of the incident, a spokesman for the Public Security Directorate said. The area is under quarantine, the Jordanian Civil Defense said in a statement.
By Monday night, local time, the toxic spill was “under control” and no longer posed any risk, according to Jordan’s media minister, Faisal Shboul, state news agency Petra reported.
Authorities were disinfecting the site and cordoning off the area to prevent further injuries, Shboul added. Scenes broadcast on Jordan’s state TV showed teams in protective suits at the scene of the incident.
Eight of the dead were Jordanians, with the remaining victims of different nationalities, according to the government.
Among the injured, 123 are being treated in hospitals. About 45 of them are employees of the Directorate of Public Security, Civil Defense and Gendarmerie Cadres First Responders, according to the country’s Directorate of Public Security.
Nearby hospitals treating the wounded have reached full capacity, according to Jordanian state TV, citing the head of the Aqaba Health Directorate, Jamal Obeidat.
Obeidat said field hospitals would be set up and instructed Aqaba residents to close their windows and stay indoors, according to al-Mamlaka TV. Planes were also sent to help with the evacuation.
Aqaba is a popular tourist resort located on the Red Sea. The incident alarmed many tourists, but tourism commissioner Nidal Al Magali said in a statement that the impact of the gas’s spread was limited due to slow winds.
CNN’s Wayne Chang and Irene Nasser contributed reporting.
Source: CNN Brasil