Norman, OK Dynamite Explosion, June 1934


Norman, Ok., June 5 -- (AP) -- The mangled bodies of seven men lay in funeral homes here today, victims of an accidental explosion of dynamite intended for use in seismograph explorations for petroleum deposits.
As relatives sped toward Norman to assure themselves of the identification of their dead, undertakers and their assistants continued piecing together the shattered bodies of the members of the Petty geophysics engineering company crew who met horrible death on a rural roadside eight miles southeast of here late yesterday.
The victims, identified from the company rolls, were:
VERNON H. WEDDEL, 26, Chandler, single.
PRESTON BARNES, 20, Guthrie, married.
LLOYD B. FLOYD, 26, Norman, married.
DON McDONALD, 22, San Antonio, Texas, single.
DAVID McCLELLAN, 37, Santa Anna, Texas, married.
HERMAN VOIGT, 29, single.
JOE FANNIN, 29, May, Texas, single.
Officials investigating the accident were at a loss to explain its cause, although some attributed it possibly to static electricity, others to a conceivable collision between a "magazine" truck carrying dynamite, and a company water truck also found at the scene.
Dynamite is one of the requisites for carrying on the geophysical explorations for oil, in which the men were engaged. The charges of the explosive are detonated over the area to be surveyed, and delicate instruments are used to record the sound
wave echoes of the blasts as they bounce back from rock structures far underground. By timing the interval between explosion and echo, depths to the underground structures may be ascertained
and an accurate knowledge obtained of the subsurface topography.
One of the few persons near the fatal blast was WENDEL CRAWFORD, another member of the party who was making instrument observations while mounted on a truck about 50 yards away from the seven.
Evidently under great physical strain, CRAWFORD described his impressions.
"My vision was completely obstructed," he said, explaining that there was a "partition" which separated him from the rest of the crew. "When I saw what had happened, I turned my truck toward Norman and reported to company headquarters and called ambulances."
"That is all that I can say."

Denton Record-Chronicle Texas 1934-06-05