August 19, 2017

Gas explosion in Auckland leaves one dead, six injured

It is always a sad day when someone goes to work and doesn't come home again. Workplace safety can never be taken for granted.

A gas explosion in a tunnel on Mt Smart Road where a water main was being connected has left a 48 year-old woman dead and six men injured in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga today.

Fire Service assistant area commander Wayne Highet said there were seven confirmed casualties from the blast – one of which was a fatality.

The explosion happened in a Watercare Services tunnel soon after 8am where a large, new watermain was being connected to an existing watermain near Victoria Road and Mt Smart Road.

Auckland District Health Board communications manager Mark Fenwick said one of the injured had undergone surgery and was recuperating, while two others had been transferred out of the emergency department and three more had been discharged.

Mt Smart Rd resident Raymond Tema, 21, said safety gear and helmets were lying scattered on the street after the blast.

He said he saw a body being carried out, as well as a survivor “with no legs and one arm”.

The workers were believed to be from HEB Construction contractors and had been cutting pipes in preparation for the connection.

This is the second workplace fatality in New Zealand this week following the death on Thursday of a worker at the Makara wind farm site near Wellington.