Shocking videos doing rounds on social media show how the deadly Chlorine gas container incident unfolded in Jordan’s Aqaba Port on Monday. The incident, wherein a containerized gas canister fell from a crane while being loaded, had claimed 13 lives.
The 21-second clip from Jordan’s only port shows a crane on the pier lifting a gas storage container onboard the Hong Kong-flagged multi-purpose cargo vessel MV Forest 6. However, the iron line of the crane snaps while hoisting, and the container crashes to the ground. A large cloud of bright yellow gas spreads instantaneously around the ship as people nearby scramble to escape its effect.
Another video, possibly from a nearby vessel, also shows the dark yellow cloud of toxic Chlorine gas. A green truck, possibly containing another canister, was seen speeding off immediately after the explosion.
Though most media reports said the mammoth canister contained 25 tonnes of chlorine gas, Aqaba Region Ports Authority deputy chief Haj Hassan reportedly claimed the tank had a “toxic substance” inside. Other Jordanian sources close to the port said the ship was there to take on a load of 20 containers “containing a very high percentage of chlorine.” The containers were headed for Djibouti.
Images of the crane with its iron link detached have also emerged, besides the pictures shared by the Jordanian authorities of the disinfection team working at the port. Meanwhile, the local authorities of Aqaba have advised citizens in the area to “stay indoors and close the windows,” in an address on state television. Images of the perforated gas tank were also available.
Meanwhile, a second leak was detected in the tank, following which the area around the port was evacuated again. Jordanian minister Faisal Al-Shbul said they are imposing a cordon of 5 km around the scene of an accident and preventing people from approaching it, except for the concerned crew.
Over 251 have been injured in a toxic gas leak accident. Of the 13 deceased people, eight are Jordanians and the remaining foreign crew.
According to Jordan’s Minister for Information, winds blowing in the opposite direction of the port helped prevent the spread of the gas to the population areas of Aqaba.