A video from a nearby CCTV camera released by state-owned al Mamlaka TV showed the container being transported by a crane before it dropped, unleashing a cloud of yellow, gaseous material onto a ship and inside the port. The video showed people running away after the container dropped.
A team of specialists on hazardous materials from Jordan’s Civil Defense were dispatched to the scene of the incident, a PSD spokesperson said. The area has been quarantined, the Jordan Civil Defense said in a statement.
Local scenes broadcast on Jordan’s state TV showed teams in hazmat suits at the site of the incident.
Out of the deceased, eight people were Jordanians, according to the government. The remaining victims are of different nationalities, it said.
Among the injured are 45 personnel who work with the Public Security Directorate, Civil Defense and Gendarmerie Cadres First Responders, according to the country’s Public Security Directorate.
Nearby hospitals treating people injured after the incident reached full capacity, according to Jordanian state TV, citing the head of the Aqaba Health Directorate, Jamal Obeidat.
Obeidat said field hospitals would be deployed and instructed Aqaba residents to close their windows and remain indoors, according to al Mamlaka TV.
Air evacuation planes were also dispatched to assist with evacuations.
Aqaba is a popular tourist resort, located on the Red Sea. The incident has alarmed many tourists, but Tourism Commissioner Nidal Al Magali said in a statement that the impact of the gas spread was currently limited due to slow winds.