A POTENTIALLY dangerous accident happened at midday yesterday in Cas Català to the west of Palma when an excavator working in a trench dug through a propane gas pipeline.

Within minutes of the accident, workmen and residents became alarmed by the heavy smell of gas hanging over the site, and emergency services were informed. Firemen from Palma and Santa Ponsa, along with local police and Guardia Civil from Calvia arrived at the scene located at the extreme boundary of Palma and Calvia. Arrangements were quickly in place to cut off traffic at Cala Major and Illetas, and although vehicles were successfully diverted, delays in either direction could not be avoided. Some motorists who were caught up in the mêlée in the immediate area of the gas leak, lost their patience as there was no way they could drive out of the police cordons. A priority was to locate the exact point of the pipeline puncture and seal off the gas supply to both Palma and Bendinat so that technicians from power supply company Gesa could work unimpeded. A spokesman for the emergency services said: “It's very difficult to quantify risks when gas escapes into the open air but it is procedure that we should always act on the safe side and treat it as an emergency.” Two hours after the accident, technicians, still accompanied by firemen who sprayed water over the road and pavement services, and a contingent of Guardia Civil, were still entrenched in securing the pipeline and doing their utmost to restore normality.