One Killed In Explosion At Austrian Gas Facility

One Killed In Explosion At Austrian Gas Facility

A big explosion has rocked a key natural gas facility in eastern Austria, killing one person and injuring at least 18.

But Red Cross spokeswoman Sonja Kellner told the Austria Press Agency that one person had been killed and 18 were injured, one of them seriously who has since been airlifted to hospital in Vienna. The explosion and ensuing fire caused damage to the buildings and cars parked nearby. The gas station was evacuated, but the number of victims may still increase.

Armin Teichert, spokesman for Austria's Gas Connect service said: "The installation has been brought under control and operations have been suspended there". The cause was a technical flaw, according to preliminary information. Several fire brigades were called to fight the flames while rescue workers treated the injured.

Gas Connect describes the Baumgarten plant, where pipelines connect and compress gas from Russia, Norway and other countries, as one of Europe's most important gas supply hubs.

The explosion was at one of Europe's main hubs.

"An explosion occurred this morning before 9:00 a.m. (0800 GMT) on the grounds of the Baumgarten Natural Gas Station", the company said.

The price for January's gas has also climbed by nearly a third, sparking concern that suppliers may need to lift energy prices. No Slovaks have been reported among the casualties. He added that when he saw flames of up to 100 metres, he nearly pronounced a state of emergency.

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