Toxic Gas Explosion at Jordan Port Kills 13 and Injures Hundreds

Footage broadcast by state media showed clouds of yellow gas billowing into the air after a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas was dropped onto the deck of a ship.
jordan port gas explosion
Photo: Al-Mamlaka TV

A tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas crashed into Jordan’s Aqaba port on Monday, killing 13 people and leaving at least 251 people injured.

A video posted yesterday from Jordan’s state television channel Al-Mamlaka TV shows a tank hitting the deck of a ship, with clouds of yellow gas billowing out into the air. Port workers can be seen attempting to flee the scene.

Officials said that the tank fell due to a crane malfunction while it was in the process of being exported to Djibouti. 

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Chlorine was used in WWI as a choking agent, and is one of the world’s most commonly manufactured chemicals. It’s used to make household products like bleach as well as paper, cloth, rubber, pesticides and solvents. It’s also used to clean drinking water and swimming pools.

People near chlorine gas might get it in their eyes and skin as well as inhaling it, and there is no cure for chlorine exposure; treatment requires removing chlorine from the person’s body and then providing medical care for possible lung or skin problems. 

The Reuters news agency reported that health ministry officials said only a few people would still be hospitalised on Tuesday, and Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh has already visited the hospital to visit some of the injured. 

This morning the governor of Aqaba Muhammad Al-Rafayah said that a formal investigation interviewing eyewitnesses has begun.