The fire caused by the accident raged for three hours before firefighters brought the blaze under control

A gas pipeline explosion has killed 10 people and injured more than 20 in the city of Mashhad, northeastern Iran.

The accident on Friday, set off when an earth-moving machine struck a local pipeline, ignited a large blaze in the area, the official ISNA news agency reported on Saturday.

Ali Reza Gharibi, the director of the National Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company, said the machine lost balance in the mountainous terrain before falling onto the pipeline.

He said workers who suffered burns were rushed to medical facilities by helicopter, and several of the deaths occured in hospital. It took firefighters three hours to bring the blaze under control.

The pipeline brought gas to Mashhad from the nearby Sarakhs refinery.

Gharibi said repairs will be completed within 48 hours and a crisis committee is investigating the incident.

Source: Agencies