Teen injured by explosion in spillway

Fingers partially blown off by unidentified exploding object

A Norco father wants to know what happened to his son after an apparent explosive blew off parts of his son’s fingers at the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

Around 7 p.m. July 5, the day after the Fourth of July, Chance Harding, 17, of Norco, his girlfriend and 13-year-old brother had just arrived at the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway to fish when Chance was allegedly struck by an object in the chest, said Clayton Harding, the teen’s father. They were fishing between the two train trestles nearest the river.

Clayton Harding estimated they had been at the Spillway about 15 minutes when the explosion occurred.

“Chance’s phone rang, he missed the call and something hit him in his chest area,” Harding said. “It knocked the wind out of him.”

The teen reportedly grabbed the object and it exploded, knocking him to the ground. The two with him used shirts to wrap around his hand, called 911 and met an ambulance on Airline Highway that took Chance to University Hospital.

After four hours of surgery, he lost part of three fingers and required reconstructive surgery on his thumb, said his father. He also received cuts and burns throughout his body.

“We don’t know what it was,” said Harding. “Something hit and injured him.”

A hospital examination a confirmed Chance had a contusion on his chest, he said.

Clayton Harding said he spoke with park rangers at the spillway and they did report finding a spot about 50 yards away where it appeared fireworks had been fired. Chance’s brother stated he recalled hearing them being fired at the time.

A senior at Destrehan High School, Chance is a pitcher for the school’s baseball team.

“He eats, sleeps and loves baseball,” his father said. “I don’t think he’d do anything to jeopardize his baseball.”Chance plans to get back on the field for springtime, although his father said he anticipates it will rely on physical therapy and if he can still hold a glove.“It’s all up to him,” he said. “He says he wants to play ball.”

Clayton Harding said he will continue seeking answers about what happened at the spillway, but he says the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

The Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment by press time.


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