AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – A crane loading chlorine tanks onto a ship in the Jordanian port of Aqaba dropped one of them on Monday, causing an explosion of toxic yellow smoke that killed at least 13 people and sickened some 250 , the authorities said.
Video on state television showed the moment the tank exploded, causing dock workers to scramble to escape the poisonous cloud. About 200 people were hospitalized.
The Public Security Directorate, which initially described it as a gas leak, said authorities had sealed off the area after evacuating the injured and sending specialists to deal with the situation.
State-run Jordan TV said 13 people were killed. Al-Mamlaka TV, another official outlet, said 199 are still being treated in hospitals. A total of 251 people were injured, according to the Public Safety Directorate.
dr. Jamal Obeidat, a local health official, urged people to stay indoors and close windows and doors. The nearest residential area is 25 kilometers (15 miles) away.
Aqaba is located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, next to the Israeli city of Eilat, which is just across the border. Both are popular beach and diving destinations.
Eilat’s emergency services said in a statement that there was no impact on the city, but they were monitoring the situation closely.