15 missing in Florida gas plant explosion

MIAMI, Florida (AFP) - Fifteen people were unaccounted for and nearby neighbourhoods were evacuated after a series of explosions shook a propane gas plant in central Florida, US media reported early on Tuesday.

The Orlando Sentinel newspaper, citing local officials, wrote that 24 people were working the night shift at Blue Rhino, a propane-tank business, when the explosions occurred.

Some 15 people were still unaccounted for after the accident late on Monday, the daily reported.

The blasts set off a huge fire, which firefighters were still trying to contain on early Tuesday.

The Sentinel reported that the first explosions shortly before midnight blew the roof off the plant. Residents described loud blasts and a "giant fireball" in the sky.

Ambulances and medical helicopters transported patients to area hospitals in Orlando and nearby areas, the Sentinel said.