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Chlorine Gas Leak in Jordan Kills and Injures Many

By: Yifei Mei

In Jordan, a country in Western Asia, a crane loading gas tanks onto a ship dropped one of them, sending toxic yellow smoke into the air. It killed at least 12 people, and injured about 250 more.

A video posted by the state media, captured by television cameras at the scene, showed the storage tank falling from a hoist as it was lowered near the deck of a ship in the port of Aqaba, exploding and filling the air with toxic clouds. Workers were shown fleeing the area by foot. A truck carrying a gas tank had been reversing toward the ship several moments before the gas explosion and quickly escaped the yellow gas.

Apparently, the tank contained chlorine, a poisonous gas that can be turned into liquid so it can be shipped and stored. Chlorine is often used in everyday objects such as bleach, drinking water, and pool water to kill dangerous bacteria.

“At 4:15 P.M. 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,” a statement the National Center for Security and Crisis Management said.

According to Jordan’s media minister Faisal Shboul, by Monday evening local time, the toxic leak had been brought “under control” and no longer posed any risk. “Authorities were disinfecting the site and cordoned off the area to prevent further injuries,” Shboul included.

If chlorine encounters your skin or eyes or gets inhaled, it can cause burning pain and difficulty breathing. This gas was used in World War I as a choking agent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

City health authorities advised the locals to close their windows and stay inside, according to the state TV reports. Police and other emergency workers treated injuries and responded to the explosion, according to the state media. About 200 people were hospitalized.

On Monday, Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh visited a hospital treating injured people, praising the rescue workers for their fast response to the explosion. He said it reduced the severity of the injuries. The Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh commissioned an official investigation into the cause of the explosion.


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