Officials Say Apparent Gas Main Rupture Overturns Car, Killing Driver

(AP) — The apparent rupture of a gas main and a forceful release of natural gas overturned a car on a rural eastern Pennsylvania road early Christmas morning, killing a New York woman and injuring a passenger, authorities said.

Monroe County Coroner Thomas Yanac Jr. said it appears that sometime after midnight Thursday the 33-year-old woman and three passengers were heading south on Lower Swiftwater Road when “something erupted under her car and she was killed.”

Yanac said the woman was pronounced dead at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono. He name wasn’t immediately released pending notification of her relatives. The injured man was transferred to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township.

Chief Kent Werkheiser of the Pocono Township police department said there was not a blast, but rather a forceful release of natural gas from a 12-inch gas main running under the rural highway, also known as Route 314, The (Allentown) Morning Call reported.

“There was no fireball. There were no flames,” Werkheimer said. “The car was on the roadway and it caused the car to turn over on its roof, causing the injuries.” A township police official said a hole about eight feet wide was left in the roadway.

Reading-based natural gas company UGI said the company’s “thoughts and prayers go out to the family involved.” 

“When we arrived, there was blowing gas and we shut the gas off to the area to make the area safe,” spokesman Joe Swope said in an email.”

Swope said in there was no evidence “of an explosion on the gas main or any of the associated facilities,” and officials were cooperating with authorities on the investigation into the cause.


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