Major gas leak shuts off Sydney's downtown area

Commuters walk up a flight of stairs at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia. Firefighters were deployed to fix a gas leak at Martin Place late on July 6, with large sections evacuated and closed to traffic.
Commuters walk up a flight of stairs at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia. Firefighters were deployed to fix a gas leak at Martin Place late on July 6, with large sections evacuated and closed to traffic.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SYDNEY (XINHUA) - A major gas leak in downtown Sydney, in Australia continued to shut the area from weekend traffic and pedestrians, with emergency services still racing to repair the pipeline a day after it was damaged, the authorities said on Saturday (July 7).

About 50 firefighters were deployed to fix the leak at the city's central Martin Place area late on Friday, with large sections evacuated and closed to traffic, as gas company representatives worked to shut the gas line, according to the state fire and rescue authority.

The leak was "caused by an excavator striking a steel gas main" and technicians "worked overnight to reduce gas pressure in the area", gas company Jemena said in an update of the situation on Saturday.

The company said it was investigating the cause of the leak and its "immediate focus is on safely repairing the damage and limiting any further disruptions to the community and gas supply to the area".

The state's Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance apologised to residents on Saturday and said it was "a very serious incident".

Work would continue throughout the day to cap the gas main, local media cited him as saying.