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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Explosion at major Austrian gas hub leaves one dead

Police said on social media that people should avoid the area around Baumgarten near Austria's eastern border with Slovakia

An explosion in Austria at one of Europe's biggest gas pipeline hubs has killed one person and injured 18, emergency services said.

The blast took place on Tuesday at Baumgarten east of Vienna, Austria's largest reception point and the main distribution hub for gas imports from Russia, Norway and elsewhere.

"An explosion occurred at 8.45am, followed by a fire," police spokesman Edmund Tragschitz told AFP, adding that the cause was not immediately clear.

"Things are under control," he said. He later put the number of people hurt, including one seriously as well as those with minor injuries, at around 60.

But Red Cross spokeswoman Sonja Kellner told the Austria Press Agency that one person had been killed and 18 injured.

Police said on social media that people should avoid the area around Baumgarten, which is near Austria's eastern border with Slovakia.

Several fire brigades from the surrounding area were called in to help.

The Baumgarten hub receives about 40 billion cubic metres of gas annually and redistributes it elsewhere in Europe including to Germany and northern Italy.

This picture taken on December 12, 2017 shows a burnt car parked near Austria's main gas pipeline hub at Baumgarten, Eastern Vienna, where an explosion rocked the site. AFP
This picture taken on December 12, 2017 shows a burnt car parked near Austria's main gas pipeline hub at Baumgarten, Eastern Vienna, where an explosion rocked the site. AFP