Fuel spill clue to portaloo blast

THE Australian Air Force member seriously burnt during a portaloo explosion on Monday may have entered it after being exposed to a fuel spill, it has been revealed.

What caused the explosion has been the subject of widespread speculation, however, yesterday the Department of Defence said it believed the man, who suffered third-degree burns to 40% of his body, had fuel on his body and that contributed to the ignition.

The RAAF member suffered horrific burns to his face, head, arms, chest and airways.

He was yesterday in a critical, but stable, condition in Royal Brisbane Hospital after earlier this week undergoing emergency surgery.

The Defence spokeswoman said the investigation into the cause of the accident was ongoing.

Earlier this week a Department of Community Safety spokeswoman said it was believed the man had been lighting a cigarette at the time of the explosion. Smoking is not allowed at the Rockhampton Airport.

The RAAF member is believed to be in his 50s and based in the Northern Territory. The incident happened at the southern end of the airport, near the Yeppen Lagoon.

Comcare, the Australian Government body responsible for monitoring injuries in federal workplaces, has been informed and is also investigating.

This incident followed a separate accident last Friday where nine Australian soldiers were injured when their armoured personnel carrier veered off the road and overturned at Shoalwater Bay during Exercise Talisman Sabre.

One soldier was flown to a Brisbane hospital for treatment and is expected to make a full recovery.


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