An explosion has been reported at Textron Aviation’s manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas. The plant was officially closed for the holidays at the time of the explosion, but was staffed by a small crew. At least 14 people were hospitalized and four treated at the scene, but the exact number and severity of the injuries caused by the accident are not yet known. The blast occurred at around 8:05 a.m. local time at the company’s Plant 3 building, which houses composite manufacturing operations and experimental aircraft fabrication.
According to Textron Aviation Director of Communications Stephanie Harder, the explosion was caused by a rupture in a 3-inch liquid nitrogen line. Extensive damage to the building has been reported. Authorities are currently working to secure the site, examine distribution lines for further problems and assess the surrounding buildings for damage. An investigation into the cause of the rupture is underway.
Textron says that the SkyCourier program underway in that same building has not been impacted.
This story will be continue to be updated as more information becomes available.