A newlywed woman and a horse were killed after an explosion at an equine rehabilitation center in Florida. (Daily Mail By PAUL THOMPSON)
The accident which also left another woman with serious injuries, is said to have been caused when a horse accidentally triggered an explosion while being treated in a high oxygen chamber.
It is feared the animal inside a hyperbaric chamber began kicking its steel clad hooves to get out and created a spark that caused a major explosion.
The horse died instantly while the blast also killed 28-year-old Erica Marshall, one of the workers at the equine rehab centre.
Sorcha Moneley, 33, from Ireland, was also injured in the blast which was so loud it was heard over 30 miles away from Ocala, Florida.
Yesterday her husband Kieran, of Corsham, Wilts., paid a heartfelt tribute to his ‘best friend’ who died ‘doing what she loved’.
He said: ‘Erica was such a kind and generous woman.
‘She only cared about other people and wouldn’t want all this fuss but that was Erica, she was selfless.’
The equine expert, who is originally from Medford in New Jersey, USA, met her husband while studying equine science at Hartpury College near Gloucester, England.
They married in November and moved to Ocala in Florida in 2010 after she was was offered a role at at the Kentucky Equine Sports and Rehabilitation Centre.
Investigators said the horse was being treated inside the chamber with pure oxygen.
The horse, which has been treated in the chamber on four previous occasions, had not been sedated.
It managed to kick through the padding inside the chamber to the outside metal wall.
As its metal shoe scrapped along the wall it created a spark which ignited the pure oxygen.
Rhonda Stroup, a Marion sheriff detective, confirmed the horse kicked off a protective shield inside of the oxygen-filled chamber.
Stroup described it as a ‘horribly huge explosion,’ and added that there was nothing the women could do because it happened so fast.
The horse owner lives in Virginia and the animal was spending the winter in Florida.
Stroup said the horse was put into chamber to be treated for a condition called EPM.
The horse had been in the chamber approximately four times and had never had any problems, so they didn’t give the horse a tranquilizer.
Marshall had been running the chamber for two years as part of her daily job, officials said.
Stroup said Marshall had treated two to six horses every day.
Horses are typically treated in a hyperbaric chamber on the recommendation of a vet.
Hyperbaric chambers are designed to push highly pressurized, pure oxygen into tissue to speed up recovery times for certain injuries.
Deputies said Marshall died at the scene.
Moneley was airlifted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville with serious injuries and underwent surgery.
About 30 other horses were at the rehabilitation center when the explosion occurred and were not harmed.