A man has died after the ambulance he was in exploded at the entrance to a hospital in Ireland on Thursday 22 September.

Two paramedics aboard the ambulance were injured while trying to rescue the patient; one was taken to the burns unit at St James's hospital in Dublin with severe wounds. The other paramedic was slightly injured in the incident outside Naas General Hospital, County Kildare.

The victim - believed to be in his seventies - was pronounced dead at the scene. He has not yet been identified, but it was confirmed that he died as a direct result of the explosion.

The ambulance itself was gutted in the incident, which happened as the man was being taken to the Emergency Department of the hospital at 2pm BST.

Staff and patients were evacuated from the hospital as a precaution. Eye-witnesses including patients described a loud bang and flames licking the wall of the building. An investigation is underway.

Witness Rob Moore, who filmed the incident, said: "I don't know what actually happened, but the whole thing just went up. As I came out of the door of the hospital I could see two paramedics at the back, one of them was really severely burnt. I think there was a fireman there, who was off-duty, he started to get things under control. Everyone was pulled away from it then." (ITV News).

In a statement, Naas Garda said: "A male patient was in the ambulance at the time of the fire and was pronounced dead at the scene. The area has been sealed off for a technical examination."

Ireland's Health Service Executive chief, Tony O'Brien, said one theory being investigated was that oxygen tanks inside the ambulance had exploded. Ambulance crews across Ireland have been sent warnings following the incident. The ambulance involved is less than a year old, O'Brien told RTE.

Local councillor Fintan Brett told TheJournal: "Imagine that poor man going into hospital, thinking he was going to get better, and then he passes away. It's absolutely terrible. My thoughts go out to him and his family."

Posted by Rob Moore on Thursday, September 22, 2016
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