2 injured, 1 missing after explosion at Arkansas defense weapons plant

CAMDEN, Ark. (AP) — An explosion at a defense weapons plant in Arkansas injured at least two people Wednesday and left another missing, the facility's operators said.

The explosion happened at the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems' plant in Camden, about 86 miles (138 kilometers) south of Little Rock, a company spokesperson said. The company initially called it an “incident involving pyrotechnics" but later confirmed it was an explosion.

“At this time, we are working with first responders and can confirm the incident resulted in at least two injuries and one missing individual,” Berkley Whaley with General Dynamics said in a statement. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities as they conduct their investigation.”

Whaley also confirmed that production was paused at the building where the explosion occurred.

The company did not provide details on the extent of the injuries. The state Department of Emergency Management said it was monitoring and stood ready to assist but did not provide additional details.

One patient was treated at the Ouachita County Medical Center’s emergency room and is stable, said Diane Isaacs, the hospital’s risk manager. Another patient was flown out of the state by helicopter, she said.

The hospital has been told to not expect any more patients, Isaacs said.

General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company. The Camden plant houses more than 880,000 square feet of manufacturing and storage space, and it supports military programs such as the Hellfire and Javelin missiles and various mortar munitions, according to the company's website.