Numerous Injuries After Explosion At Aircraft Manufacturing Plant In Kansas

More than a dozen people were injured in an explosion at a Beechcraft aircraft manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas, early Friday (December 27) morning. Eleven people were taken to a local hospital, while four people were treated at the scene for their injuries. The blast caused the building to partially collapse, but officials said that nobody was trapped underneath the rubble.

Investigators believe the blast was caused after a three-inch nitrogen line ruptured. A natural gas line was also damaged in the explosion, but officials said there is no threat to the surrounding community. They have not determined how the line broke and are continuing to investigate.

Authorities said the plant was closed for the holidays and only had a skeleton crew working at the time of the blast.

"One of the benefits is the plant was closed or shut down for the holiday season, so the numbers that would have been here were not," Sedgwick County Fire Deputy Chief Daniel Wegner said.

The plant manufactures single- and twin-engine aircraft, and Stephanie Harder, a spokeswoman for Beechcraft’s parent company, Textron Aviation, said the building where the explosion took place was used for composite manufacturing operations and experimental aircraft fabrication.