Researcher loses arm in lab explosion

Manoa, Hawaii (KHNL) Officials say the 29-year-old researcher seriously injured in an explosion at a University of Hawaii lab Wednesday was conducting a routine experiment and handling relatively stable compounds when something went very wrong.

"Something happened out of the ordinary and we don’t know what that is yet," Brian Taylor, dean of UH-Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, told reporters at a news conference Thursday.

Post-doctoral fellow Thea Ekins-Coward lost an arm and suffered other injuries in the explosion, which happened about 6 p.m. Wednesday in a basement lab at the Pacific Ocean Sciences and Technology Building.

People nearby who heard the explosion weren’t sure what it was.

"It felt like something huge that was dropped on the floor. It was unusually loud," said teaching assistant Stacy Takeshita.

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