The car explodes (left) and people immediately run to help an injured man lying on the ground.
A man is said to have been fighting for his life following a ‘terrifying’ explosion at the start line of a hot rod event in Sydney.
Dramatic video from the edge of the track showed a fireball shooting out of a car surrounded by people and an injured man lying on the asphalt.
Paramedics were called to the Sydney Dragway at Eastern Creek in the west of the city at 5.15pm on Saturday (AEST) following the incident.
The NSW Ambulance Service told Channel 9 that four people had been taken to hospital, one of whom was seriously injured.
One person was burned and three others were slightly injured.
A video of the event showed how the event unfolded at Australia’s Top Fuel Championship, a new top-tier drag racing tournament that took place over two days.
As a commentator recounts the day’s action, an explosion occurs in one of the vehicles behind him, seemingly without warning.
At the time, there appeared to be at least nine people near the race car, which was part of the Jim Read racing team.
The presenter instinctively leaned in the middle of the broadcast and simply said “whoa” as the fireball burst. Screams could be heard from the grandstand.
When the camera returned to the car, a man in a yellow vest could be seen lying on the ground as people rushed to help him.
On Facebook later Saturday, Sydney Dragway posted a comment about the event.
“Earlier today there was an incident at the start line involving one of the competing teams,” he said.
“A full investigation is underway into the cause of the incident in question in conjunction with Australian Championship organizers Top Fuel and Sydney Dragway’s sanctioning body, International Hot Rod Association Australia.
“Our hearts go out to the team members involved and we hope to see them back on the circuit soon.”
Commenting on social media, one person said it was “noisy, like a grenade”.
“I was 50 meters away and the concussion shook me.”
Others said it was a “massive explosion” and “terrifying”.
“I was behind the barrier, next to it,” said onlooker Di.
“It happened so fast and we felt the heat.”