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Spectator loses part of leg in California power plant implosion

By John Branch and Leslie Holland, CNN
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Sun August 4, 2013
Three people were injured during a planned implosion at the Kern Power Plant in Bakersfield, California, early Saturday, August 3, police said. Three people were injured during a planned implosion at the Kern Power Plant in Bakersfield, California, early Saturday, August 3, police said.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spectator loses part of his leg during implosion, police say
  • Two other people also injured by flying debris
  • Two vehicles, including a police car, are damaged
  • Owner of imploded plant says they are investigating

(CNN) -- A man standing more than 1,000 feet away lost part of one leg when he was hit by debris from a power plant implosion early Saturday, police in Bakersfield, California, said.

Two other people injured by flying shrapnel were treated on the scene.

The scheduled implosion of the Kern Power Plant in Bakersfield occurred at 6 a.m. (9 a.m. ET).

The man with the most significant injuries was airlifted to Fresno to be treated, police Lt. Scott Tunnicliffe told CNN. One leg was partially amputated and the other was severely injured, Tunnicliffe said.

One of the injured spectators showed his injuries to a news crew from CNN affiliate KGET. The man's right leg was bandaged just below the knee and around the ankle. He was treated by medical crews at the scene before going home.

Debris from implosion injures three

Tunnicliffe told CNN a Bakersfield police officer was positioned to assist with crowd control and traffic for the implosion. There were three designated viewing areas. The injured were not inside those zones, but were at a distance that appeared to be safe, according to Tunnicliffe

Plant owner Pacific Gas & Electric said it was keeping the injured in its "thoughts and prayers."

"Safety of the public and employees is our first priority at all times and we are deeply saddened that at least one individual suffered serious injuries," it said in a statement. "We will work closely with all investigating agencies and the third-party contractors who managed and carried out the demolition as they work to identify the cause of this accident.

PG&E spokesperson Denny Boyles told CNN his company that though his company established a safe perimeter with the aid of police and fire, the company did not designate viewing areas and did not encourage spectators.

Two vehicles, including a police car, are damaged.

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