At least 10 dead, 250 injured in gas explosion in Jordan

At least 10 dead, 250 injured in gas explosion in Jordan

A gas explosion killed at least 10 people and injured more than 250 people on Monday when a crane fell from a crane and released a poisonous yellow cloud at Jordan's port, authorities said.

Footage on state-owned Al-Mamlaka TV showed the large cylinder, said to have been carrying about 30 tonnes of gas, plunging from a crane on a moored vessel, causing a violent release of the gas cloud.

The blast sent a truck rolling down the harbourside, while port workers could be seen running for their lives.

The death toll rose to 10, a government spokesman Faisal al-Shaboul told AFP, revising an initial death toll of five killed.

Sartawy said that specialists and the hazardous substances team in the civil defence are dealing with the incident.

Trucks were seen in a row carrying similar containers at the time the accident occurred.

Nearby areas were evacuated and residents were told to stay indoors.

The prime minister Bishr Khasawneh and Interior Minister Mazen al-Faraya went to the site of the incident, state media reported.

The deputy chief of the Aqaba Region Ports Authority, Haj Hassan, told Al-Mamlaka that a vessel carrying a container containing a toxic substance broke, causing the fall and escape of the poisonous gas. However, the former head of the company that operates the port, Mohammed al-Mubaidin, said that the gas is heavy and it is not easy for its gas clouds to move. The southern beach of Aqaba, a Red Sea resort area, was evacuated after being evacuated due to the incident, according to Jordanian official sources.

The leak was unlikely to reach Israel, a spokeswoman for the country's environmental protection ministry said, noting that there was a northerly wind blowing now indicating that the gas would not affect the residents of Eilat and the area, but rather Saudi Arabia. The injured were transported to two state hospitals, a private facility and a field hospital.

Local media showed members of the civil defence forces, some dressed in hazmat suits, as well as medics rushing to the scene clad in masks.

Aqaba health director Jamal Obeidat said hospitals were full in the area and could not receive more cases. Aqaba health director Jamal Obeidat said that the injured people are in medium to critical condition.

He asked residents in Aqaba to stay in their homes and shut all windows as a precaution stating that the chemical substance was very dangerous, without specifying what it was.

The government set up a team headed by the interior minister to investigate the accident and take the necessary measures, Al-Shaboul said.

The government spokesman urged citizens not to approach the site of the incident, saying medical reinforcements were being sent to Aqaba.

Israel expressed its condolences and offered to help.

As we told our friends in Jordan, the Israeli defence establishment is ready to assist with any effort by any means necessary, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said.

Jordan's port is located at Aqaba, the country's only marine terminal and a transit point for a large portion of its imports and exports.