1 killed, several injured in blast at Austrian gas facility

Vienna: One person was killed and at least 18 injured when an explosion ripped through one of Europe’s biggest gas transfer hubs in Austria at 8.45 am (0745 GMT) on Tuesday.

The accident happened at Baumgarten, a town outside Vienna near the Slovak border where gas from Eastern Europe enters Austria. Baumgarten hub is one of Europe’s largest and most important distribution points for natural gas from Russia, Norway and other states.

The blast caused a fire that was contained within hours by about 250 firefighters. While a police spokesman said 60 people were injured in the blast, a Red Cross spokeswoman told the Austria Press Agency that one person was killed and 18 injured.

Local police tweeted that the situation was under control. A spokesman for oil company OMV said the cause of the blast was not yet clear. Operator Gas Connect Austria said the incident should have no effect on gas deliveries to Austria but those to Italy might be reduced.

Social media users reported hearing the explosion some five kilometres away, with one user saying the explosion “felt like an earthquake”.

Police advised people on social media to avoid the area around Baumgarten.