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Nearly a dozen died, over 250 injured after toxic gas leak in Jordan's Aqaba port

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Jordanian civil defense teams in hazmat suits rush to an area at Aqaba port following a toxic gas leak. (Photo by Jordan TV)

At least ten people have lost their lives and 251 others are injured when toxic gas leaked from a storage tank in Jordan's Aqaba port.

The official Petra news agency, citing spokesperson of the Public Security Directorate Amer al-Sartawi, said specialized teams were dealing with the leak after a tank filled with toxic gas fell during its transportation, leading to a gas leak at the site.

Footage shown by state media showed a crane unloading a cylinder on to a vessel. The crane falls and bumps into the side of the ship before falling to the ground and exploding in a plume of yellow smoke. Port workers can be seen trying to flee.

Officials said the cylinder contained 25 tons of chlorine destined for export.

Aqaba beaches were evacuated and shipping was halted, state television said.

“We advise citizens in Aqaba to stay indoors and close the windows. This gas is critical,” Jamal Obeidat, head of Aqaba Health Department, told state television.

Obeidat said there could be more deaths linked to the leak.

Jordanian Information Minister Faisal Al Shboul said the government has sent a field hospital and medical equipment to Aqaba.

Aqaba Governor Mohammad al-Radayaa said the situation “has been controlled.”

The nearest residential area is 25 kilometers (15 miles) away.

The Highway Patrol Department said that vehicles were prevented from driving to Aqaba in order to preserve the safety of people.

The department called on all those en route to the port city to abide by the instructions, and cooperate with security forces present at the site.

Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah is also present at the National Center for Security and Crisis Management, following up the evacuation and rescue operations carried out by the authorities, according to the private Roya TV satellite channel.


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