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Chlorine gas leak in Jordan kills at least 13, injures hundreds

A chlorine gas leak killed at least 13 people and injured hundreds of others at Jordan's port of Aqaba. Photo courtesy of AlMamlaka TV
A chlorine gas leak killed at least 13 people and injured hundreds of others at Jordan's port of Aqaba. Photo courtesy of AlMamlaka TV

June 28 (UPI) -- A toxic gas leak at Jordan's port of Aqaba has killed at least 13 people and injured 260 others, according to Jordan's emergency relief coordinating agency.

Video from a CCTV camera, released by state-owned AlMamlaka TV, showed a crane lifting a chlorine tank onto a ship Monday before the container slipped and dropped onto the pavement.

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People can be seen running for their lives as the container explodes and releases a bright yellow gas onto the ship and port.

"At 4:15pm [local time] on Monday afternoon, a chlorine gas leak occurred in the port of Aqaba due to the fall and explosion of a tank containing this substance," said a statement from the National Center for Security and Crisis Management.

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Jordan's Civil Defense quarantined the area and advised residents in Aqaba city to stay inside and keep windows and doors closed. A team of hazardous materials specialists was dispatched to the scene.

The toxic leak is "under control" and no longer poses a risk, Jordan's media minister Faisal Shboul said Tuesday.

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According to authorities, the chemical storage container fell because of a crane malfunction.

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The deputy director of Aqaba's port told AlMamlaka TV that an "iron rope" carrying the container "broke" while it was being loaded onto the ship. The container, which was scheduled to be exported to Djibouti, was carrying between 25 and 30 tons of chlorine.

Chlorine is used in industrial and household cleaning products such as bleach to kill harmful bacteria.

The yellow gas can be deadly if it is inhaled causing fluid build-up in the lungs or pulmonary edema. If swallowed or allowed to come into contact with skin, it reacts with water to produce acids that damage cells in the body.

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Around 123 people remained in the hospital Tuesday with some in critical condition.

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