Remains Of 5 Missing Men Located At Rig Explosion Site
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma - Searchers recovered all five men who were missing after Monday's gas rig explosion in Pittsburg County. The bodies are now at the Medical Examiner's Office.
Then men were identified as:
- Matt Smith, 29, of McAlester
- Parker Waldridge, 60, of Crescent
- Roger Cunningham, 55, of Seminole
- Cody Risk, 26, of Wellington, Colorado
- Josh Ray, 35, of Fort Worth
Smith, Waldridge and Cunningham are all Oklahoma victims. Risk and Ray are from out of state.
Officials said the bodies were found on the deck of the rig in what's called the "doghouse" - the office used to control the drilling rig.
We also learned one man on the derrick barely made it off, with only a slight injury.
Now, 24 hours after the fire was extinguished and the flow of gas stopped, the investigation is underway into the cause of the explosion.
The resulting fire collapsed the drilling rig and trapped the bodies inside the wreckage of the rig’s "doghouse"
It was too hot to enter the scene until Tuesday.
“From what I was told, many of the survivors, there was a loud boom, they saw fire and they ran. Everybody was trying to survive. From what I understand, one guy was up high on the derrick and he grabbed a guideline and slid down, which would have been scary, but he survived,” Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said.
Five federal and state agencies are part of the investigation. The company has been ordered to clean up waste oil and water from the site and plug the well.
“If there was something that went wrong, what was it? And if there was something we could prevent in the future, that's great. Sometimes it's a freak accident,” Congressman Markwayne Mullin said.
Representatives of well operator Red Mountain Energy and rig owner Patterson UTI bot said their focus now was supporting the families of the workers, who, the sheriff said, are struggling with their loss.
“Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been impacted beyond words by this tragedy,” said Tony Say with Red Mountain Energy.
“Five people were tragically lost in this event,” Andy Hendricks with Patterson UTI Energy said. “Our focus right now is supporting the families. This has been a terrible tragedy and a terrible loss.”
Morris said, “With the unknown of this situation, and the families not knowing and just feeling empty on where their loved ones are, it's a tough situation and of course they're not doing good.”
The drilling started 10 days ago and the rig operators said they were at 13,500 feet down when the accident happened.