Fireworks barge catches fire as Australia celebrates New Year's Eve

Sydney's skies were lit up with another amazing display. Source: Getty.

While Australia once again welcomed a new year in style last night, thousands of people were evacuated from a New South Wales beach following a huge explosion. 

A fireworks barge reportedly caught fire about 150 metres from the shore of Terrigal Beach, forcing two technicians on board to jump into the water for safety.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, emergency services were on hand and they only suffered minor injuries, but were left feeling “shaken”.

One spectator reportedly said the explosion “sort of hit you in the chest” and left the barge “well and truly alight right in front of the surf club”.

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Crowds were evacuated from the shoreline following the explosion, which happened just minutes into the 9pm display.

“Two men on the barge suffered minor injuries and were treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to hospital,” a NSW police spokesman told the publication.

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And it came as more than one million people descended on Sydney Harbour to watch the world-famous display this year – and it didn’t disappoint.

A huge array of fireworks were let off in front of the shocked crowd, with the main centrepiece a rainbow tribute to the recent same sex marriage vote and upcoming 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras.

The countdown was also stepped up a gear this year, with fireworks forming the numbers 10 down to one, before the word “Sydney” lit up the sky above the Harbour Bridge.

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The display had celebrity backing as actor Hugh Jackman helped design part of it to mark the start of 2018.

“The most technologically advanced fireworks display I’m told,” Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore told ABC News.

“It’ll promote Sydney to the world. There’ll be a billion viewers out there watching.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne wowed crowds with its annual display, with a reported 14 tonnes of fireworks launched from the top of 22 city buildings across the city.

Did you watch any of the fireworks displays? What did you think?