Jordanian government has formed a team headed by the country's Interior Minister Mazen al Faraya to investigate the accident and take the necessary measures.

Jordan's Aqaba port is the country's only marine terminal and a transit point for a vast portion of its imports and exports.
Jordan's Aqaba port is the country's only marine terminal and a transit point for a vast portion of its imports and exports. (AFP)

A toxic gas explosion has killed at least 10 people and injured more than 250, when a cloud of yellow gas suddenly enveloped Jordan's Aqaba port.

Footage on state-owned Al Mamlaka TV showed a large cylinder, said to have been carrying about 30 tonnes of gas, plunging from a crane on a moored vessel, causing a violent release of the gas cloud on Monday.

The death toll rose to 10, government spokesperson Faisal al Shaboul said, revising an initial toll of five killed.

At least 251 people were injured, Civil defence spokesperson Amer al Sartawy reported.

"Specialists and the hazardous substances team in the civil defence are dealing" with the incident, Sartawy added.

Nearby areas were evacuated and residents told to stay indoors.

An "iron rope carrying a container containing a toxic substance broke, resulting in the fall and escape of the poisonous substance," the deputy chief of the Aqaba Region Ports Authority, Haj Hassan, told Al Mamlaka.

The channel also cited the former head of the company that operates the port, Mohammed al Mubaidin, as saying that a vessel had been waiting to load almost 20 containers of liquified gas "containing a very high percentage of chlorine".

He nonetheless added that the gas is heavy and "it is not easy for its gas clouds to move... as it concentrates in one area and is affected by wind movement".

Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh and Interior Minister Mazen al Faraya headed to the site of the incident, state media reported.

"The government formed a team headed by the interior minister to investigate the accident and take the necessary measures," al-Shaboul said.

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Stay indoors orders

Aqaba health director Jamal Obeidat said that hospitals were full in the area and "cannot receive more cases".

"The injured people are in medium to critical condition," he added.

He called on residents of Aqaba to "stay in their homes and shut all windows as a precaution", stating that the chemical substance is very dangerous, without specifying what it was.

According to Jordanian official sources, Aqaba's southern beach was evacuated following the incident.

Jordan's Aqaba port is the country's only marine terminal and a transit point for a vast portion of its imports and exports.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies