A truck carrying 35,500 pounds of explosives crashed and exploded Wednesday, leaving a huge crater in a Utah highway and injuring at least four people.
The driver was able to get out and warn other motorists away before the truck exploded. But a passenger in the truck cab and other motorists were rushed to hospitals with injuries, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said.
Two people were in critical condition and another was in satisfactory condition at a hospital in Provo, LDS Hospital spokesman Jess Gomez said.
The truck driver, a 30-year-old man, was taken to University of Utah Hospital, where he was alert and talking when he arrived, spokesman Chris Nelson said.
It was not immediately clear why the truck crashed, Royce said. He said the truck was "pretty much vaporized" in the explosion and both lanes of Highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon, 60 miles south of Salt Lake City, were gutted by the blast.
J.D. Herbert, a nephew of Utah Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, said the explosion blew him off his motorcycle. Afterward, he looked up "at a mushroom cloud of fire, and shrapnel just starts falling down," he told KUTV of Salt Lake City.
Several small fires in the hills above the accident scene were believed to have been triggered by flying debris, and nearby rail lines were damaged.
The rig, from R&R Trucking of Missouri, had just left commercial explosives maker Ensign-Bickford Co. at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon when the accident happened. Officials would not say what type of explosives the truck was carrying.