Toxic gas leak leaves more than a dozen dead and 251 injured in Jordan

27 June 2022, 20:52

State media showed footage of the leak
State media showed footage of the leak. Picture: Twitter/Al-Mamlaka TV

By Emma Soteriou

At least 13 people have been killed and over 250 injured after a chlorine gas leak at Jordan's Aqaba port.

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The leak on Monday was caused after a cable lifting a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas snapped, sending the container crashing to the ground.

Deputy chief of the Aqaba Region Ports Authority Haj Hassan told state broadcaster Al-Mamlaka that a "cable carrying a container containing a toxic substance broke, resulting in the fall and escape of the poisonous substance".

Footage shared on the broadcaster's social media showed the tank fall, crashing to deck of the ship, with clouds of yellow gas filling the area.

Workers could be seen fleeing the scene as the gas spread.

Following the incident, Dr Jamal Obeidat, a local health official, urged people to stay inside and close windows and doors, with the nearest residential area being 15 miles away.

He also warned there could be more deaths linked to the leak.

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The Public Security Directorate said authorities had sealed off the area after taking the injured to hospital and sent specialists in to deal with the leak.

Aqaba's southern beach was reportedly evacuated after the incident while Al-Mamlaka TV said 199 were still being treated in hospital.

People gather outside a hospital following a toxic gas explosion in Jordan
People gather outside a hospital following a toxic gas explosion in Jordan. Picture: Getty

Jordan's prime minister, Bisher al-Khasawneh, is believed to be heading to Aqaba following the incident.

State media reported that he has also created an investigation team - chaired by the interior minister - to look into what happened.