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Equine expert killed in Florida as horseshoe sparks explosion

15 February 2012

An equine expert, Erica Marshall, was killed when a horse she was treating in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber kicked out, sparking a freak explosion which threw debris 1,200ft and could be heard 30 miles away, according to local reports.

The KESMARC explosion threw debris 1,200ft and could be heard 30 miles away
The KESMARC explosion threw debris 1,200ft and could be heard 30 miles away

The blast, at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center (KESMARC) in Ocala, Fla., ripped off a wall and roof at the facility, killing the horse and Ms Marshall, who was watching the horse via video link in a nearby room. A visitor is also being treated for head injuries.

There was no fire associated with the explosion and no horses stabled in other areas of the building housing the chamber were injured.

It is believed the horse kicked through the padding inside the chamber and its shoe sparked when it connected with outer metal wall, igniting the oxygen. The hyperbaric chamber on the site used pressurised oxygen to speed up healing in injured horses.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) in Florida is now investigating the incident.

Hyperbaric chambers are widely used in the offshore diving and medical industries, providing a high-pressure 100% oxygen atmosphere for divers undergoing decompression and patients being treated for conditions such as gas gangrene and carbon monoxide poisoning. They are also effective in expediting recovery after joint and limb injuries.

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