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At least 13 people were killed and 250 were injured Tuesday when a crane lifting gas tanks onto a ship in Jordan dropped one, spewing plumes of deadly yellow smoke into the air, the Washington Post reported.
State media posted a video showing a storage tank slipping from its hoist as it was lowered toward the deck of a ship at the port of Aqaba, Jordan’s only seaport. The incident caused an explosion that released poisonous chlorine gas in the area.
Jordanian authorities said the chlorine was pressurized and cooled into a liquid form to be transported easily. They added that the effects of the gas leak were limited and there was no risk to public health.
Still, Aqaba officials advised residents to close their windows and stay home. Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh also ordered an official probe into the incident.
In its gaseous form, chlorine is considered toxic if inhaled or in contact with skin or eyes, causing burning pain, breathing difficulties and fluid in the lungs. Chlorine-based products are used in many household items, such as bleach.
But the gas had also been used as a chemical weapon during World War One, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.