Chlorine gas explosion kills at least ten and injures hundreds (VIDEO)
A chlorine gas explosion killed at least ten people and injured 250 at the port of Aqaba, Jordan, on Monday. Video footage captured the moment a gas tank fell from a crane and exploded, releasing a dense cloud of toxic fumes.
The chief of the city's health department, Jamal Obediat, announced the casualty figures on state television, cautioning that these numbers could rise. Describing the situation as “critical,” Obediat told residents of the port city to remain indoors and close their windows, The National reported.
Footage of the incident broadcast on Jordanian TV shows a crane loading a cylindrical tank onto a ship. The tank falls from the crane, exploding as it hits the vessel and releasing a cloud of lurid yellow gas.
Port workers can be seen fleeing from the site, and photos shot in the aftermath of the incident shows the ruptured tank lying on the dock beside the ship.
Officials said that the tanker contained 25 tons of chlorine destined for export. In gaseous form, chlorine is highly reactive and its distinctive yellow vapors can cause vomiting and respiratory damage when inhaled. Chlorine gas was used as a chemical weapon in World War I, before it was replaced by the more deadly phosgene and mustard gas.
Nearby beaches were closed after the explosion, and shipping from the port was halted, state TV said. Jordanian Information Minister Faisal Al Shboul said that the government sent a field hospital and medical equipment to Aqaba.
Aqaba sits along Jordan’s border with Israel, with the frontier dividing it from the Israeli city of Eilat. The port where the explosion took place is located around 10km south of the twin cities, on the east bank of the Bay of Aqaba.