The hyperbaric chamber at the KESMARC Florida Equine Rehab in Ocala, Fla., exploded just after 9 a.m.the morning of Feb. 10, according to local news reports.
The news reported that there was one human fatality—Erica Marshall, 28—and that Sorcha Moneley, 33, was transported to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., in critical condition. Marshall was a KESMARC Florida employee who had two years of experiences operating the chamber, while Moneley was a visitor from her native Ireland at KESMARC Florida to observe the hyperbaric chamber. Read more about Erica Marshall.
There was also a horse fatality in the incident. Eventing Nation reports that the horse was in Florida with the O'Connor Event Team, and was Landmark's Legendary Affaire, a homebred 6-year-old owned by Jacqueline Mars and ridden by Lauren Kieffer at the novice level.
A local news report indicates that the two women were observing the horse via video feed from the hyperbaric chamber's control panel when they saw the horse become agitated and start kicking. They tried to activate an emergency switch to decompress the chamber, but the horse kicked off the protective layer from his steel shoe and made contact with the steel wall of the chamber, igniting a spark that triggered the explosion.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is becoming ever more popular. Read all about it in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Is A Breath Of Fresh Air, an article that was published in the Feb. 21, 2011 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse.