Powerful blast near Uzbekistan’s Tashkent airport kills one, injures 162

A teenager dies as a window frame falls on him following the explosion at a warehouse near the capital’s airport.

One person has been reported killed and 162 others wounded in a powerful explosion at a warehouse near Tashkent airport that sparked a fire and shattered windows in apartment buildings nearby.

A teenager died after a window frame fell on him, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Health said in a statement following Thursday’s explosion.

The ministry added that 138 people were treated for injuries while 24 had been hospitalised.

Flights were operating as normal at the international airport in the capital, the authorities said.

In video and photographs on social media, flames soared into the night sky, with a huge cloud of smoke hanging above the warehouse, but the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.

A special laboratory had been set up at the scene to investigate the blast, the emergencies ministry said.

“The situation is completely under control,” it added.

Specialists work to extinguish fire following an explosion at a warehouse near an airport in Tashkent [Government of Uzbekistan/Handout via Reuters]

A social media post from Uzbek outlet Daryo said 16 fire and rescue crews were sent to fight the fire at one of the warehouses in the city’s Sergeli district near the airport.

The blast damaged the windows and interiors of several houses in the surrounding area while ambulances worked to evacuate those injured, the AFP news agency reported.

Explosions continued to ring out in the hours after the blaze broke out as emergency crews tackled the fire.

“I woke up at night. I thought it was an earthquake,” said Koutepov Moustafo, a 72-year-old retiree who lives nearby and whose house was affected. “Then I saw the fire. My son was injured in the leg.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies