A massive blast at a natural gas pipeline shook the outskirts of Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent. A fireball rose into the night sky late on 24 August, as several stunned motorists stopped to watch by the roadside.

Emergency vehicles raced to the scene, but no injuries were reported because the fire occurred in an isolated area. The blaze raged for three hours and was visible from central Tashkent, RFERL reported.

Crews used mobile cranes to make urgent repairs. Authorities said a surge in gas pressure may have ruptured the aging pipeline. At least 30,000 people were expected to be without natural gas for several days.