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Italy declares state of emergency after Austrian gas plant blast

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By Euronews
Italy declares state of emergency after Austrian gas plant blast
Copyright  Rotes Kreuz Gänserndorf

Italy has declared a state of emergency after a massive blast at a major gas supply plant in Austria.

At least one person was killed and up to 18 others hurt when an explosion occured at around 8.45 CET this morning.

The plant at Baumgarten is one of Europe's key gas distribution points and as a result deliveries were quickly thought be in danger.

The operator Gas Connect Austria says domestic supplies will be maintained but those to Italy and Germany might be reduced.

Gas prices in Europe soared amid concerns although Russia's Gazprom Export said it was working on redirecting gas flows to secure uninterrupted supplies.

Natural gas is transported to Baumgarten via Slovakia and Germany along several cross-border pipelines.

Residents of the Austrian town of Baumgarten an der March were told to avoid the area by police. Social media users reported hearing the explosion some five kilometres away, with one user saying the explosion "felt like an earthquake". 

Footage shows flames rising from the plant in the aftermath of the explosion. 

Courtesy: Flora Mucha

Local police tweeted that the situation was under control: "Firefighters are putting out the fire, rescuers are looking after the injured".

Dozens of people have reportedly been evacuated from Baumgarten