Widow Of Quinton Gas Rig Explosion Victim Files Wrong Death Lawsuit
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma - The widow of one of the Quinton gas rig explosion victims has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the drilling companies operating Rig 219. Dianna Waldridge, wife of Parker Waldridge, is asking for more than $75,000 in damages.
Waldridge, 60, was one of five men killed January 22, 2018, when the well exploded. Other victims were Matt Smith, 29; Roger Cunningham, 55; Cody Risk, 26, and Josh Ray, 35.
The lawsuit targets Red Mountain Operating, Red Mountain Energy, Patterson-UTI Drilling and Patterson-UTI Energy.
The lawsuit alleges the companies were negligent in providing for the safety, supervision and training of their employees during rotary drilling operations. Attorneys for the widow state the negligence constituted reckless conduct and resulted in the wrongful death of the father of four.
According to the lawsuit, Red Mountain contracted with Patterson to drill a total depth of about 17,500 feet. They'd reached about 13,500 feet when the company decided to "trip-out" or remove the pipe assembly, bottom-hole assembly and rock bit out of the well.
When Waldridge started his shift, he visited the "doghouse" located on top of the rig floor as the tripping out took place.
"An uncontrolled release of gas occurred from the well under substantial pressure" during the process, attorneys state.
The court document states Rig 219 had three "blow out preventers" that can be used to close or "shut-in" the well to prevent the flow from reaching the surface, but none of the BOPs were in closed position when the uncontrolled flow began.
The natural gas was released into the atmosphere where it mixed with oxygen, the lawsuit states. The mixture ignited, "sending flames fifty feet into the air and consuming the rig in an inferno," attorneys continue.
"The resulting fire was so intense that authorities had to rely on dental records in order to confirm the identities of Mr. Waldridge and these four other men," court records state.
The wrongful death lawsuit also states Patterson is "no stranger to workplace fatalities - having the second worst worker fatality rate among its peers in the industry."
Red Mountain was negligent in part for hiring Patterson as its drilling contractor, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit asks for relief of pain and suffering for Waldridge's wife and family, loss of potential income and punitive damages for the companies' wrongful conduct in operating the rotary driller operation.