Emergency official: 5 missing after Oklahoma rig explosion


About 22 people were working on the rig when the explosion occurred, officials told KJRH.

Crews, he said, are observing rather than using water or other methods that would spread hazardous materials at the natural gas well site.

The local sheriff says more than 20 employees were on site when a drilling rig exploded in eastern Oklahoma, and five remain unaccounted for. Secondary explosions continued at the rig but have since been extinguished, Enloe said.

"It's going to be a long process", Enloe said.

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Pittsburg County Emergency Manager Director Kevin Enloe tells KOTV that at least three medical helicopters landed at the site following the Monday morning explosion. The worker was later airlifted to a hospital for further treatment.

Officials said 17 other employees were able to safely leave the area.

Morris said counseling is being offered to the employees on site at the time after the tragic events.

Around 9 a.m., the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Department says they were called to an explosion at an oil rig near Quinton.

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Enloe said the fire at the site is still ongoing and no additional fire crews are being deployed for containment.

Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. said in a statement Monday that the cause of the fire remains unknown but that some of their employees "are unaccounted for at this time".

Enloe said the explosion also started grass fires that are being contained, but said the rig was almost engulfed in flames. "We will provide more details as they are known".

The drilling site was being operated by Oklahoma City-based Red Mountain Operating, said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas operators in the state.

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The incident occurred about three miles from another explosion that happened a year ago on a site owned by Trinity Operating LLC, located just west of Quinton.