Five Men Killed In Pittsburg County Gas Well Explosion Identified
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma - The five men who are missing and presumed dead after a drilling rig explosion near Quinton were identified in a news conference Tuesday morning.
Josh Ray, 35, of Fort Worth
Matt Smith, 29, of McAlester
Cody Risk, 26, of Wellington, Colorado
Parker Waldridge, 60, of Crescent
Roger Cunningham, 55, of Seminole
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that were involved in this rig explosion yesterday," said Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris. "At this time we have moved from a rescue mission to a recovery mission."
Morris said efforts to find the men have been unsuccessful. The medical examiner's office is waiting for the scene to cool down and stabilize before it can enter the site, he said.
Representatives from Patterson UTI and Red Mountain Energy spoke about the loss of their employees and the efforts being made to assist family members.
Both Red Mountain and Patterson representatives said they will be working with OSHA. They said they would not speculate at this point about the cause of the explosion, but said they want to learn from the tragedy so it won't happen again.
Patterson's CEO Andy Hendricks said they extend their deepest sympathies to the families affected by the tragedy. Three of the men were his employees. A fourth employee received minor burn injuries.
"This has been a terrible tragedy and a terrible loss," he said.
Hendricks said the company has had safety violations over their years of operation across the country, but said the record would show they are one of the safest companies in the industry.
Red Mountain Energy representative Tony Say said the company's priority at this time is the people who have been affected and the safety of those who will be investigating the well site. He said Red Mountain is a small company that has never experienced anything like the deadly explosion and his employees are devastated.
Say said his company did not have any employees on site but did have a contract engineering firm at the gas well.
He also thanked the first responders and emergency personnel of Pittsburg County.
Investigators said they are not aware of any health, medical or environmental concerns from the aftermath of the explosion.
As of Monday night, authorities said searchers have not gotten closer than 100 feet to the rig to search for the five workers. Morris said it was his understanding that the men were working in the "dog house," a steel-sided room next to the rig floor.
In addition to the five missing men, one man was injured and 16 escaped the explosion.