1 dead, 1 hurt after model rocket explodes at school

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) – A propane-powered model rocket exploded at a Southern California school, killing a young man and sending his friend to the hospital with minor injuries, authorities said.

A nurse who heard the blast Monday evening helped the most critically injured victim, an 18-year-old man who died hours later at a hospital, according to Ventura County Fire Capt. Mike Lindbery. His 17-year-old friend was hospitalized with minor injuries and was expected to survive.

The two were apparently were using a small propane cylinder to make a model rocket and the cylinder exploded in someone’s hands, Lindbery said.

A meeting for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts was being held at Madrona Elementary in Thousand Oaks when the school suddenly shook from the blast.

“Nobody could really discern what it really was because it was a huge explosion. It was just all at once. Just a ‘boom!'” Tammy Coburn, who was attending the meeting, told Los Angeles news station KABC-TV.

Police and fire investigators along with a bomb squad remained on the scene late into the night trying to determine the exact cause of the explosion and the nature of the device, officials said. Classes at the school northwest of Los Angeles were canceled Tuesday.

The victims were not immediately identified, but KABC reported they were seniors at nearby Thousand Oaks High School.

“They’re AP and honor students. Amazing, brilliant kids,” Coburn said.

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