Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Two Barton County men are dead following an incident at a Kansas oilfield.
It happened Monday a few miles northeast of the town of Claflin at a rural saltwater disposal lease site. According to the Barton County Sheriff's Office, 50-year-old Curtis Hoffman of Great Bend was working on a leaky valve of a saltwater disposal system in an underground cellar. At some point, he had asked his son-in-law, 30-year-old Kebby Myers of Claflin to bring him additional parts.
Investigators believe that soon after, Hoffman was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas, a byproduct from the production of oil and natural gas. When Myers returned, he too was overcome by the fumes.
When the pair didn't arrive home as expected, family began looking for them. A relative soon after saw their vehicles outside the disposal well, and made the discovery. The leaking valve had since caused the cellar to flood.
Myers' body was recovered near the steps of the flooded room. Other specialized hazardous material equipment was brought in, and the water was then removed from the structure. Shortly after midnight, Hoffman's body was recovered as well.
The incident is under investigation.