Video from a nearby CCTV camera released by the state-run Al-Mamlaka TV channel shows the container being transported by crane before it falls, releasing a cloud of yellow gaseous material onto the ship and inside the port. The video shows how people run away after the fall of the container.
“On Monday at 16:15, a chlorine gas leak occurred in the port of Aqaba due to the fall and explosion of a tanker with this substance,” the National Center for Security and Crisis Management (NCSCM) said in a statement.
A team of Hazardous Materials Specialists from Jordanian Civil Defense was dispatched to the scene, according to a PSD spokesperson. The area is under quarantine, Jordanian Civil Defense said in a statement.
By Monday evening local time, the leak of the toxic substance had been brought under control and no longer posed any risk, according to Jordanian media minister Faisal Shbool, state news agency Petra reported.
Schboul added that authorities have disinfected the site and cordoned off the area to prevent further injury.
Footage broadcast on Jordanian state television showed teams in hazmat suits at the scene.
According to the government, eight of those killed were Jordanians, while the rest of the victims were of various nationalities.
Among the injured, 123 people are being treated in hospitals. According to the country’s Public Security Directorate, about 45 of them are employees of the Public Security Directorate, civil defense personnel and the gendarmerie.
Nearby hospitals treating the wounded have been operating at full capacity, Jordanian state television reported, citing Aqaba Health Authority chief Jamal Obeidat.
Obeidat said field hospitals would be set up and ordered Aqaba residents to close their windows and stay at home, al-Mamlaka TV reported.
Aircraft were also sent to assist in the evacuation.
Aqaba is a popular tourist resort located on the Red Sea. The incident alarmed many tourists, but tourism commissioner Nidal Al Magali said in a statement that the impact of the spread of the gas was limited due to light winds.
Wayne Chang and CNN’s Irene Nasser contributed to the story.