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At least 16 hurt as car crashes into a cafe

09 June 2015, 10:18

Sydney -Sixteen people were injured on Tuesday, an official said, after a car ploughed into a cafe in a remote Australian town, hitting a gas cylinder and igniting a blaze, with a witness describing "absolute mayhem".

The car veered into the eatery in Ravenshoe, a small town some 1,710 kilometres (1,060 miles) north of Queensland state's capital Brisbane, around midday (0200 GMT), a police spokesman told AFP.

"As a result of that crash, a gas bottle has ignited and subsequently the building caught alight," he said.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said 16 people were being treated for injuries, mostly burns, and that a rescue helicopter had landed nearby with another on the way.

A Royal Flying Doctor plane, an aero-medical service covering regional and remote areas, was also en route, he added.

A witness described the situation as "absolute mayhem".

"He hit the gas bottle on the side," the witness, who was not named, told the Cairns Post newspaper, referring to the car's driver.

"There were three huge bangs, it almost lifted the roof off. It felt like an earthquake, it felt serious."

Another witness told the newspaper "the whole town felt it", referring to the explosion.

"One old lady had her clothes burnt off her," she added.

The fire took an hour to extinguish, Queensland's fire service said.

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