02/10/2012 3:26PM

Hyperbaric chamber explosion kills woman, horse


A woman and a horse were killed and a second woman was injured Friday in a hyperbaric chamber explosion at the Ocala, Fla., division of the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center.

According to a report in the Ocala Star-Banner, the accident occurred Friday morning after the unidentified horse became fractious while inside the chamber, which the Star-Banner described as being 10 to 12 feet in diameter. The two female workers at the facility attempted to turn the chamber off but the chamber exploded. Erica Marshall, 28, was killed, along with the horse, and Sorcha Moneley, 33, was injured and flown to the University of Florida at Gainesville’s hospital. Moneley was an intern at the Del Mar Turf Club in 2000 when she was a student at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Fire and rescue officials said they received the call at 9:21 a.m.

Hyperbaric chambers allow a patient to breathe in unusually high concentrations of oxygen in an environment of increased pressure, which proponents say increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and can promote healing in diseased or injured tissue. Fire or explosion due to sparks or the presence of combustible material, such as hay or straw, is a risk with their use, because oxygen-enriched environment requires less energy for ignition and allows flames to spread faster.

EventingNation.com reported that the horse killed in Friday’s explosion was a three-day event horse named Landmark’s Legendary Affaire that was owned by Jacqueline Mars.