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Title supplied by cataloger. A pocket of natural gas exploded early Thursday in the midst of a crew of workers drilling a Metropolitan Water District tunnel 250 feet beneath Sylmar. The explosion turned the 21-foot-high tunnel into an inferno of blazing gases. Sixteen men were believed killed in the blast or in the flames and suffocating smoke that followed, and it was almost 10 hours before the first bodies could be removed. By late Thursday night seven bodies had been removed, and by Friday morning, five other bodies were taken out but the bodies of four other victims remained undiscovered. The explosion was the second in two days at the Metropolitan Water District's San Fernando Tunnel. Both explosions were blamed on methane, the natural gas found in oil fields. Methane is natural gas, the same as that used in gas ranges. In its normal state it is colorless and odorless. A miner identified as Roy Madsen, 42, who lived and worked at the Governor Mine site in the Antelope Valley, was trapped about 240 feet below ground at the bottom of a 30-inch-wide shaft. Madsen was investigating a recently reactivated shaft when he noticed a lack of oxygen. After climbing within reach of co-workers, he slipped and fell in. Frantic efforts to free the minor were unsuccessful by the Sheriff's Department, and members of the Indian Wells Valley search-and-rescue team were helicoptered to the site in hopes of extracting the victim from the shaft. Photograph dated October 20, 1984.
1 photographic print :b&w ;24 x 33 cm. on sheet 29 x 35 cm. Photographic prints
Search and rescue operations--California--Antelope Valley Mine shafts--California--Antelope Valley Rescues--California--Antelope Valley Tunnels--California--Antelope Valley Men--California--Antelope Valley Antelope Valley (Calif.) Los Angeles Herald-Examiner photographs Herald-Examiner Collection photographs