updated 8/29/2008 5:22:23 PM ET 2008-08-29T21:22:23

A locomotive train slammed into a propane tanker truck in north-central Oklahoma on Friday, triggering a huge explosion that killed two people and injured a third, authorities said.

"It blew the semi tanker apart," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. George Brown said. "The cab was on one side of the train and the tanker on the other."

Mike Honigsberg, emergency management director for neighboring Garfield County, said the two people killed were aboard the Union Pacific train.

The injured truck driver was flown by medical helicopter to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kan., with third-degree burns over at least 50 percent of his body.

The crash occurred at 9:20 a.m. on U.S. 81, about 20 miles south of the Kansas border near Medford, Brown said.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza-Williams said the truck was on the train tracks when the locomotive slammed into it.

Honigsberg said investigators believe the truck driver had just filled up the tanker at the ConocoPhillips LP gas facility next to the accident site. The liquid propane facility was shut down briefly.

All that was left of the locomotive was a burned shell. The explosion blackened the first three cars and left a large crater in the ground.

The Union Pacific train was traveling from Wichita, Kan., to Fort Worth, Texas, with a load of flour, wheat, possible metals and some flammable substances, Espinoza-Williams said. None of the flammable substances leaked from the train cars.

Brown said some of the cars were hauling ethanol and methanol.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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