Explosion of Natural Gas Pipe in Texas Kills Crewmember

A natural gas explosion in north Texas killed one member of a crew installing utility poles, and authorities were trying to figure out if the gas line had been marked before digging started.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was among numerous agencies at the scene after a utility crew struck a gas line Monday afternoon, sending a massive fireball into the air.

The lone utility worker missing after the blast was found dead Monday night, once searchers could safely walk through the entire charred area. Authorities had hoped the missing man had left the scene on his own, like some of his colleagues who drove themselves to hospitals, The Associated Press reports.

One energy analyst said the gas pipeline blast could feed jitters about energy supply because the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had prompted government limits on drilling.

"The explosion comes at a time when uncertainty surrounds future drilling activities amid a moratorium that the government has imposed," said Phil Flynn, analyst with PFGBest Research in Chicago.

Gulf of Mexico gas production is falling and hurricane forecasts have made ominous predictions about a busy storm season that could threaten production, Flynn said, Reuters informs.

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