A waste plant worker, 50, was airlifted to hospital with serious burns after an explosion and fire this morning.

CareFlight’s rapid response rescue helicopter was tasked to the plant in Links Road, St Marys, where billowing smoke could already be seen across western Sydney.

With a major fire control operation under way, the helicopter landed close to the scene at St Mary’s Leagues Club stadium.

The medical team were picked up by NSW Police and met a NSW Ambulance crew, who had begun treating the injured man for serious facial and leg burns.

CareFlight’s emergency doctor and critical care paramedic sedated and intubated the man to stabilise his condition.

He was then transferred to the helicopter to be flown to Royal North Shore Hospital for specialist burns care.