Texas Waco Fertiliser Plant Blast: Videos and Pics Capture Destruction Live [SIIDESHOW]
Photos and videos of the massive explosion at a Texas fertiliser plant and the devastation that followed have flooded the web.
Several people were filming a fire that erupted at the West Fertilizer plant, 18 miles north of Waco, Texas, when it triggered an incredible blast that has been compared to a nuclear explosion by West Mayor Tommy Muska.
In one video, a man is seen in the rear-view mirror of his car filming the fire, parked on a lawn near the plant, when he is hit by the blast's shockwaves.
Flames are seen shooting into the sky and a laud boom is heard moments before the man is forced to drops the camera.
"I can't hear, I can't hear. Dad please let's get out of here," the man's daughter is heard saying off camera.
The blast was heard as far as 45 miles (72km) away.
"The fire was so high," resident Julie Zahirniako said. "It was just as loud as it could be. The ground and everything was shaking."
The videos were posted online and shared on social media, becoming instant hits on YouTube.
The blast was so strong that shockwaves transmitted through the ground were recorded as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake by the US Geological Survey.
Police said between five and 15 people were killed in the explosion that also injured more than 160 others.
Several firefighters who rushed to the scene are believed to be among the missing.
The explosion has levelled a four-block area around the plant including 50 to 75 houses, an apartment complex with about 50 units that one state police officer said was reduced to "a skeleton," and a nursing home.
"[Authorities] are still getting injured folks out and they are evacuating people from their homes," Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said.
"We've got a lot of people who are hurt, and there's a lot of people, I'm sure, who aren't gonna be here tomorrow," Muska said. "We're gonna search for everybody. We're gonna make sure everybody's accounted for. That's the most important thing right now."
Smoke rises as water is sprayed at the burning remains of a fertilizer plant in West
“It was a like a nuclear bomb went off," West Mayor Tommy Muska said. "A big old mushroom cloud."
A damaged vehicle is seen after an explosion
A chemical trailer sits among the remains of the West fertilizer plant
The remains of the West fertilizer plant burn after the explosion
Debris is seen after an explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas
A sign rests on a sidewalk amid shattered glass after the explosion
Photo:Reuters Waco Police spokesperson William Swanton speaks at a media conference
Waco Police spokesperson William Swanton speaks at a media conference