Austria gas plant explosion kills one person, injures at least 18 others

Austria gas plant explosion kills one person, injures at least 18 others

"An explosion occurred at 8:45 am (0745 GMT), followed by a fire", police spokesman Edmund Tragschitz told AFP.

Initially, the company said 18 people were injured - though local police later raisedthat number to 21, noting that one person suffered serious injury.

Gas supplies from Russian Federation to Italy, which broke off on Tuesday because of the accident at the Baumgarten Austrian gas distribution center, were resumed last night, Reuters reported.

The blast occured at the OMV Gasstation Baumgarten, Austria, with firefighters and medics rushing to the scene soon after. "This caused a spark, a gas leak and a fire". A blast at the gas distribution hub near Austria's Baumgarten an der March was caused by a flaw in the newly installed filtration system, a senior official at the hub's operator, Gas Connect Austria, said on Wednesday.

Gas Connect Austria said on Wednesday that transit supplies to Europe had been fully restored.

A state of emergency would give Rome the right to use a series of extraordinary measures such as allowing coal and oil power plants to fire at full blast.

Slovakia also confirmed that gas supplies from the Austrian hub had returned back to normal.

Austria gas plant explosion kills one person, injures at least 18 others
Austria gas plant explosion kills one person, injures at least 18 others

According to the Reuters news agency, the Italian wholesale day-ahead supply of natural gas rose 150 percent to €60 ($70) per megawatt-hour (MWh) - an all-time high.

Slovakia's main gas transit route to Austria was suspended after the fire, Slovak pipeline operator Eustream said.

The extreme heat released by the pipeline blast caused several nearby cars to melt.

"Currently the company is working on redistribution of gas flows and (doing) its best to secure uninterrupted gas supplies to the clients on this transport direction", Gazprom said.

In Britain, Europe's biggest gas market, gas for immediate delivery soared 40 percent to 95 pence per therm, a level not seen since 2013.

"The gas supply to Italian consumers will in any case be ensured by an increased gas supply from national subterranean reserves", the government said.

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