THREE power station cooling towers were razed to the ground yesterday in a huge demolition operation that didn't go quite to plan.

The controlled explosion at Didcot Power Station in Oxfordshire caused a major blackout that knocked out electricity to 40,000 homes. 

And the blast injured at least two people after crowds had gathered to watch the spectacle. 

This was the moment the towers came crashing down. 

Footage - Drone Motion

Moments later, the sky was lit up by another explosion, this time in a field opposite the demolition site. 

Debris from the blast flew off the towers and crashed into an electricity pylon, which caught fire. 

People standing underneath the pylon were hit, and a three-year-old girl was burned. 

The resulting power outage affected tens of thousands of people. Most had their power restored within two hours. 

This video shows the debris fly off the left tower, followed by the explosion.

Electricity company SSEN could not initially confirm the cause, but later confirmed the blast was due to debris flying off the tower. 

People who gathered to watch the demolition have called for answers as to why people were allowed to stand so close to the explosion site, and how debris could have come loose. 

People were seen running away from the blaze. 

An SSEN spokesman said: “Initial investigations have confirmed that this morning’s power cut was caused by material related to the demolition of Didcot Power Station striking our overhead electricity network. 

"During the demolition, a large section of debris protection material became detached from one of the cooling towers and made contact with our 33kV overhead line, which was outside of the advised perimeter.  This resulted in significant damage to the overhead line and subsequent network faults.

“We are in contact with the station owner, RWE, to support them in their incident investigation alongside our own internal review into the network fault.

“SSEN takes its responsibility to public safety seriously. We are aware of reports of minor injuries and damage caused by the incident at Sutton Courtenay and are working with the police and other agencies to identify those impacted.

We would ask anyone affected to contact us through the power cut helpline 105 so we can investigate further.”

The demolition of the remaining three disused towers at the coal-fired Didcot Power Station was delayed after the boiler house section collapsed while being dismantled in 2016. 

Christopher Huxtable, 33, from Swansea, South Wales, Kenneth Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and Michael Collings, 53, from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Teesside, died after the partial collapse of the boiler house at the Didcot A plant in February 2016.

The plant is owned by German group RWE.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: All pictures: Vicki LeeAll pictures: Vicki Lee

Pictures from Vicki Lee, who was watching the event, show a large object coming from the left of the three towers ahead of the explosion. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

She said the images show 'something (flying) out and hitting the power line.'

This was the scene after the explosion. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Pic. Jayme Granito

He said: "Roughly a minute after the cooling towers were demolished this morning and when everyone thought the excitement was over, one of the telegraph poles started surging with electricity sending sparks of electricity into to the air."

The very end of this video footage from Twitter shows the explosion from another angle.