Santa Ana, California: A worker at Southern California’s John Wayne Airport was killed when a tire on a jet bridge used to connect terminals to aircraft doors exploded during maintenance, officials said on Wednesday.
The accident happened in a workshop at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana around 23:30 local time (07:30 GMT) on Tuesday, an airport spokeswoman said.
The worker has yet to be identified by officials. Another worker was present but not injured in the blast.
The tyre was part of the jet bridge connecting the plane to the terminal.
The enclosed walkway allows passengers to board and disembark the plane without going outdoors.
Airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson said the tyre that blew up was about 4ft (1.2 meters) in diameter.
The explosion was strong enough to trigger the emergency sprinkler system, which prompted a response from the Orange County Fire Authority and paramedics stationed at the airport.
The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.
Sheriff’s officials and the state’s workplace safety authority, Cal-OSHA, are planning to investigate.
The workers were contractors for a company called JBT.
“We are deeply saddened by this event, and are focused on providing support and assistance to our employees and their families,” the company said in a statement, adding that they are fully co-operating with investigators.
Airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson says both worked for a company that maintains the Orange County airport’s luggage handling system and jet bridges. They are the movable passenger-loading structures that connect terminals to airliner doors.