Nitrogen line rupture leaves crater at local Boeing plant

A nitrogen line ruptured at the North Charleston Boeing plant Thursday morning, blowing a crater in the ground.

A nitrogen line ruptured at the North Charleston Boeing plant Thursday morning, leaving a crater in the ground.

The incident was reported about 6:30 a.m. Robert Gross, spokesman for Boeing South Carolina, later said an underground nitrogen line had failed.

“There were no confirmed injuries, and there are no associated health risks,” he said in an email. “Because safety is always our top priority, we are conducting a full investigation, and we will provide more information as it is available.”

Nitrogen is used in the production of the fuselages, Gross said. The rupture was next to the aft-body and mid-body production buildings, he said.

A notice sent to workers said the line that failed was between buildings 88-19 and 88-20. The notice assured workers there was no danger to them or the environment and that the nitrogen lines were shut off immediately.

Photos tweeted from the scene showed a crater big enough to drive a car into where the line had ruptured.

Boeing makes its 787-8 and 787-9 wide-body commercial airplanes at the North Charleston campus as well as at a sister facility in Everett, Wash. The North Charleston facility, beginning in 2016, will be the only site to produce the 787-10 — the Dreamliner line’s longest and most fuel-efficient model.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.