Saudi Arabia offers condolences to the victims of the Jordan gas leak.
Riyadh/Amman — Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed profound pain and sorrow for the victims of the toxic gas leakage at Aqaba port of Jordan, as the death toll from the accident rose to 13 people dead and more than 260 injured.
In a statement, the Ministry expressed its stance and solidarity with the friendly people of Jordan in this significant loss.
It extended sincere condolences and sympathy to the families and relatives of the victims, wishing all the injured a quick recovery and Jordan and its sisterly people continuous security, peace, and stability.
During a video broadcast, images recorded by Jordan’s Al Mamlaka TV showed the dock covered by a cloud of yellow gas.
A leak of toxic chlorine gas killed 13 people and injured more than 260 others, Jordanian state media report.
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Authorities said a chemical storage container fell while being transported due to a crane malfunction.
CCTV footage showed a crane hoisting the container and then suddenly dropping onto a ship and exploding.
A large cloud of bright yellow gas spread across the surroundings, sending people running for safety.
Jordanian media said on Monday night that 123 injured were admitted to local hospitals for chemical exposure treatment. Some of the injured were reportedly in critical condition.
Chlorine is a chemical used in industry and household cleaning products. It is a yellow-green gas at standard temperature and pressure but is usually pressurized and cooled for storage and shipment.
When inhaled, swallowed, or if it comes into contact with skin, chlorine reacts with water to produce acids that damage body cells.
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Inhaling high chlorine levels causes fluid to build up in the lungs – a life-threatening condition known as pulmonary edema.
Residents of Aqaba Port city, 16km (10 miles) north of the port, were advised to stay inside and close windows and doors following the leak, which happened at 15:15 (12:15 GMT) on Monday.
Aqaba’sAqaba’s southern beach, which is only 7km away and is a popular tourist destination, was also evacuated as a precaution, AFP news agency reported.
After several hours Minister of State for Media Affairs Faisal Shboul declared that there was no longer any risk to the city and its residents.
The Civil Defence Department sent specialist teams to the port to deal with the leak and clean-up operation.
Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh flew to Aqaba Port and visited a hospital treating some of the injured.
He ordered Interior Minister Mazen Faraya to oversee a transparent investigation into the “regrettable” tragedy and to guarantee “all resources to ensure the total security of workers at the ports and all necessary precautions concerning hazardous materials.”
The deputy director of Aqaba’s port told Al Mamlaka TV that an “iron rope” carrying the container “broke” while loading onto a cargo ship.
The container had between 25 and 30 tons of chlorine and was earmarked for export to Djibouti.