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Toxic gas blast in Jordan kills 10, injures over 200

#Toxic #gas #blast #Jordan #kills #injures

A toxic gas explosion on Monday killed ten people and injured more than 250, authorities said, when a cloud of yellow gas suddenly engulfed the Jordanian port of Aqaba.

Footage from state broadcaster Al-Mamlaka showed a large bottle believed to be carrying about 30 tons of gas falling from a crane on a moored ship, causing a violent release of the gas cloud.

The force of the blast sent a truck rolling down the harbor while dockers ran for their lives.

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

Civil defense spokesman Amer al-Sartawy reported 251 wounded.

“Specialists and the Civil Defense hazardous materials team are dealing” with the incident, Sartawy added.

Trucks with similar containers were seen lined up at the time of the accident.

Surrounding areas have been evacuated and residents have been told to stay indoors.

Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh and Interior Minister Mazen al-Faraya made their way to the scene of the incident, state media reported.

Aqaba Region Port Authority deputy chief Haj Hassan told al-Mamlaka that an “iron cable carrying a container containing a toxic substance broke, resulting in the fall and escape of the toxic substance.”

The channel also quoted the former head of the company that runs the port, Mohammed al-Mubaidin, as saying a ship was waiting to load nearly 20 containers with LPG “which contains a very high percentage of chlorine”.

He added nonetheless that the gas is heavy and “its gas clouds cannot move easily…because it is concentrated in one area and is affected by wind movements”.

According to official Jordanian sources, Aqaba South Beach was evacuated after the incident.

– hospitals full –

The injured were transported to two government hospitals, a private facility and a field hospital.

Local media showed members of the civil defense force, some in hazmat suits, as well as paramedics rushing to the scene wearing masks.

Aqaba Health Director Jamal Obeidat said hospitals in the region were full and “cannot take any more cases”.

“The injured are in moderate to critical condition,” he added.

He urged Aqaba residents to “stay in their homes and close all windows as a precaution” and explained that the chemical substance was very dangerous, without specifying what it was.

“The government has formed a team led by the interior minister to investigate the accident and take the necessary measures,” al-Shaboul said.

The government spokesman urged citizens not to go near the scene of the incident, adding that medical reinforcements are being sent to Aqaba.

Jordan’s port of Aqaba is the country’s only sea terminal and a transit point for much of its imports and exports.

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