Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Project blew too early, institute says

The Associated Press

        WEST JEFFERSON, Ohio - Two researchers injured when their experiment exploded prematurely were studying how different munitions affect armor.

        The men were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds and burns after the explosion during a scheduled experiment Sunday afternoon at Battelle Memorial Institute, the world's largest independent, nonprofit research institute, which does most of the military's research.

        Technician Jim Gombarcik, 30, of Delaware, was in critical condition Monday at Ohio State University Medical Center, and researcher Tom Burky, 34, of Johnstown, was upgraded to serious condition at Grant Medical Center in Columbus.

        The men were combining “energetic materials” in a device that resembles a cement mixer when the explosion occurred Sunday in this Columbus suburb, spokeswoman Katy Delaney said. She did not know what they were combining.

        The cause of the explosion is under investigation.


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- Project blew too early, institute says