Gas pipeline explosion in Lithuania forces evacuation of nearby village

An explosion in a gas pipeline in central Lithuania sent flames fifty metres into the air on Friday and forced the evacuation of a nearby village according to officials.

Local media said there were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters were quickly at the scene but could do little other than look on while the remaining gas in the pipe was still burning.

The operator company, Amber Grid, immediately cut off the tap on the pipeline, which runs parallel to another one and transports natural gas from Klaipeda on the Baltic coast to Latvia.

The company said the other pipeline was not damaged.

In a statement, the Amber Grid CEO, Nemunas Biknius, said the circumstances of the incident were being investigated.

Local media reported the Latvian energy minister as saying he'd been told the incident was a technical accident.