Several people are missing and many have been injured in an explosion on Monday at the world's biggest chemical company BASF in western Germany.
Based in the city of Ludwigshafen, BASF said it was still seeking to determine the exact cause of the incident and the number of people who had been injured or were missing as a large plume of smoke billowed over the giant chemical complex.
Public radio Suedwestrundfunk reported that an explosion had occurred on a tanker docked at the company's harbour on the Rhine river.
Special operational forces were now at the scene of the explosion, with the fire brigade issuing a danger warning saying the incident could result in dangerous odours and effect visibility in the area.
Local residents have also been asked by police to keep their doors and windows closed, as well as to shut down ventilation and air-conditioning systems after combustion gases were released into the air. Motorists have been asked to avoid the area.