April 23, 2019 17:12:42
An exclusion zone has been set up around the Sydney Opera House and about 500 people have been evacuated from the area after an excavator cut a gas line, triggering a leak.
Fire and Rescue NSW was called to the Opera House forecourt just after 3.00pm after the small excavator inadvertently cut the supply line.
Tourists and people dining at nearby restaurants have been moved away from the site, and part of Macquarie Street has also been closed.
A specialist hazardous materials team is in the area and a 100-metre exclusion zone has been set up.
Restaurants such as the Aria Restaurant, headed by celebrity chef Matt Moran, have been affected.
Fire and Rescue NSW is monitoring gas levels in the area and station officer Alex Cross said staff were waiting on specialist equipment to arrive.
“We need gas-rated machinery to be able to work in the vicinity of the gas leak,” Mr Cross said.
“[If we didn’t] there could be a spark that would lead to an explosion. It is not deemed safe at this point.”
According to emergency crews, resolving the leak has been made more complex by the fact the pipe is embedded under thick concrete and bitumen and normal drilling equipment could create dangerous sparks.
Crews from the Jemena gas company have called in specialist pneumatic equipment to access the pipe.
A state dinner is being hosted by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for NSW Governor David Hurley at the Opera House tonight.
A spokeswoman for the Premier said they were monitoring the situation.
April 23, 2019 16:37:02