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Multiple people injured in explosion at Kansas manufacturing plant

WICHITA, Kan. — Multiple people were injured when a nitrogen gas line ruptured at an aviation manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas, officials said Friday morning.

The explosion took place at Beechcraft’s Plant 3 shortly after 8 a.m. local time, company spokeswoman Stephanie Harder said in a news conference, when a 3-inch nitrogen gas line ruptured.

There were no confirmed fatalities, officials said. Eleven people were taken to the hospital, according to Sedgwick County EMS Director Dr. John Gallagher. Emergency service providers also looked at four others, but they didn’t go to the hospital.

One patient had “potentially serious injuries,” Gallagher said, but he couldn’t provide specifics.

Beechcraft is owned by Textron Aviation and manufactures single- and twin-engine aircrafts. The company is working with emergency personnel to account for anyone who might have been at the plant.

“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.

Fire officials are checking the structural integrity of the facilities, Wegner said.

The initial leak, which was contained, caused a rupture in another nitrogen vessel, he said. But that nitrogen gas is venting and there’s no danger to the surrounding community.

The cause of the first rupture is not known.

Plant 3 contains composite manufacturing operations and experimental aircraft fabrication, Harder said.

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