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Mineshaft fire prank injures students

SALT LAKE CITY, July 18 (UPI) -- Police in Utah said about a dozen college students suffered burns while dropping gasoline bombs into a grate-covered mine shaft.

Police said Brigham Young University students had been dropping Molotov cocktails through the grate Saturday near U.S. Highway 6 between Elberta and Eureka, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

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"I've arrested people for this a number of times," Utah County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

"They make gas bombs and drop them down the mine shaft," he said. "A bomb hits the wall of the mine shaft and sends a huge fire ball up 200 feet in the air. ... It's pretty spectacular, but it's incredibly, incredibly dangerous."

As the students dropped small bombs and fireworks into the shaft, another group arrived with "large quantities of gasoline," Cannon said.

Several of the students were sitting on the grate with their legs dangling through the openings when a jug of gasoline was knocked over, he said.

"There were huge burning flashes and fireballs," Cannon said. "Two or three series of them came up. Then the wall of the mine shaft caught on fire."

The group tried to call for help but the remote mineshaft is out of range for most mobile providers, he said.

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Some of the victims drove themselves to hospitals, with seven of them suffering serious injuries resulting in their being transferred to the University Hospital burn unit, Cannon said.

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