Police in Austria have reported that one person died while dozens of others have been injured at a major gas explosion in the country.

A fireball was pictured coming out of the pipeline close to the Slovakian border at Baumgarten an der March, just east of the capital Vienna.

The pipeline in Baumgarten is a major hub that transports Russian and Norwegian gas for much of Europe.

The explosion is thought to have taken place at around 7.45am UTC with a fire quickly developing.

Only one person is confirmed to have been killed in the blast, with an estimated 18 thought to have been injured, though some reports have placed that number as high as 60.

Many of the injured, suffering with burns, have been airlifted from the scene.

The gas hub has been shutdown while safety checks are carried out to bring the situation under control.

Armin Teichert, spokesman for Austria's Gas Connect service said: "The installation has been brought under control and operations have been suspended there."

Gas Connect Austria run the hub which handles 40 billion cubic metres of gas per year which on top of supplying in its own country also feeds Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.

Several fire brigades are in attendance at the scene with a cause yet to be determined.