UK & World News
Sydney Petrol Tanker 'Inferno' Kills Two
Two people have been killed and at least five others injured after a petrol tanker exploded in Sydney.
It is understood the tanker was in collision with multiple vehicles and burst into flames on impact in a residential area in the city's northern suburbs.
A number of buildings nearby, including a factory, were evacuated as a precaution, New South Wales police said.
Emergency services were alerted to the blast in Mona Vale Road at about 3.40pm (5.40am UK time) on Tuesday.
Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the tanker and several vehicles alight, and burning petrol flowing down the road, fuelled by more than 18,000 litres of fuel which had leaked from the tanker.
Footage filmed by a passer-by showed flames leaping as high as the trees in the leafy suburb, and giant plumes of black smoke from the explosion, described by one witness as an "absolute inferno".
All those injured in the explosion were reportedly take to Royal North Shore Hospital, three in a serious condition.
Tthe driver of the tanker, who was airlifted to hospital with head injuries, was among them.
"We heard a massive scraping noise. We actually thought it was thunder and this big, black ball of smoke shot into the air followed by 50 feet of flames," witness Adrian Hybner told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"A couple of us went across the road and went through a property that backed onto Mona Vale Road but it was an absolute inferno and then further explosions started to happen. We couldn't do anything".
He added: "There was this guy that has walked away from the truck stumbling down the road, walking away from the truck. The fire was literally 100m long."
Firefighters brought the blaze under control and remained at the scene to deal with the fuel spillage.
Commissioner Greg Mullins, of Fire and Rescue NSW, said: "When they turned up they found a petrol tanker, around about 18,000 litres, on its side.
"Petrol had come out and was well alight so the flames were up 20-30 metres at one stage.
"Thick black smoke was engulfing the Blackmores factory next door ... around 200 people were quickly evacuated. A number of cars caught fire"
He added: "Onlookers reported numerous explosions ... so it's actually quite miraculous that there haven't been more casualties."