Cessna 340 Explodes On Ramp

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A Cessna 340 that exploded on the ramp at Lafayette (La.) Regional Airport last week apparently had a slow fuel leak in its left wing tank, investigators say. The pilot of the airplane had reported fumes in the cockpit on its last flight, about three weeks ago. It sat on the ramp until a mechanic went to check it out last Tuesday morning, and when he turned on the master switch, the explosion occurred. No flames or fire were reported. The mechanic suffered minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released. The explosion rattled windows and knocked pictures off walls at nearby businesses, but nobody was hurt (we're not real clear on how the mechanic managed that, either), and traffic at the airport was not affected. The twin-engine airplane was destroyed.