5 presumed dead in Oklahoma gas rig explosion

Posted: Updated:
QUINTON, Okla. (AP) -

The Latest on a fiery explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

Officials say the five employees who have been missing since an explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig are presumed dead.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said Tuesday that the search for the workers has turned to a recovery mission after the Monday morning blast in eastern Oklahoma.

Three of the workers were employed by Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. Company president and CEO Andy Hendricks pledged a full investigation into the explosion.

Emergency management officials said Monday night that the fire was extinguished. Authorities say 16 people who were on the site at the time of the blast escaped without major injuries. One person was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

Officials released the names of five people now presumed dead:

  • Josh Ray, 35, Fort Worth, TX
  • Matt Smith, 29, McAlester, OK
  • Cody Risk, 26, Wellington, CO
  • Parker Waldridge, Crescent, OK
  • Roger Cunningham, Seminole, OK

7:20 a.m.

The search is resuming for five people who are unaccounted for after a fiery explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig.

The blast happened Monday morning at a drilling site near Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa. The explosion sent plumes of black smoke into the air and left a derrick crumpled on the ground. For much of the day Monday, emergency officials were unable to get near the rig because the fire was still burning.

Emergency management officials said Monday night that the fire was extinguished. Authorities say 16 people who were on the site at the time of the blast escaped without major injuries. One person was airlifted to a hospital, and five others remain missing.

The cause of the blast is not yet known.

1:45 p.m.

A local emergency manager says crews are allowing a fire to burn out following an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma to avoid spreading contaminants.

Five people remain missing after the Monday morning explosion in Quinton, about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa.

Pittsburg County Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe says about 17 workers were rescued from the site shortly after the blast, including one who was treated at the scene for burns.

Enloe says firefighters are searching nearby wooded areas in case any of the missing people fled after the explosion.

He says the fire is mostly containing itself on site, where several tanks and other equipment are located. He says "pretty much everything on site is on fire."

12:45 p.m.

The local sheriff says more than 20 employees were on site when a drilling rig exploded in eastern Oklahoma, and five remain unaccounted for.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris tells the McAlester News-Capital that "most everybody" was taken off the site to a safe location following the explosion Monday morning.

The fire continues to burn near Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.

Morris says he can't confirm any injuries or fatalities from the blast. He says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

A spokeswoman says the Oklahoma medical examiner's office wouldn't be able to confirm any fatalities until the fire is extinguished and investigators can get to the scene of the explosion.

10:55 a.m.

An emergency official says five people are missing after an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma.

Pittsburg County Emergency Manager Director Kevin Enloe tells KOTV that at least three medical helicopters landed at the site following the Monday morning explosion. He says five people are missing.

The explosion occurred west of the town of Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.

Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain tells The Associated Press that it wasn't immediately clear if there were any injuries or fatalities.

Cain says state environmental and regulatory officials have been notified and are heading to the scene. A local emergency dispatcher says the sheriff, undersheriff and county emergency management director are all on the scene.


 

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