Two men were severely injured Sunday in a mine explosion near Florence. One man was in critical condition with a compound fracture to his right leg and lacerations all over his lower body, authorities said.
The other man had a puncture wound to the eyeball, shrapnel wounds and lacerations all over his body.
The men, whose names were not released, were flown to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix.
“The two men apparently had some black powder and made pipe bombs,” said Mike Minter, a spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. “They basically just blew themselves up.”
The pair were blasting about 8 a.m. at Mineral Mine — the claim of a female acquaintance — which is near Cottonwood Canyon Road and state Route 79.
According to Minter, the woman, whose name also was not released, told deputies she filed the claim 18 years ago.
She also said she obtained a blasting permit 16 years ago, but could not provide the document and did not remember from which agency she had obtained it.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has taken over the investigation.