May 3, 2018 — Autopsies of the 5 men who died in January when a natural gas rig exploded near Quinton, Oklahoma showed that their deaths were caused by burns and smoke inhalation.
The explosion on January 22 was the deadliest accident in the oil and gas industry since 11 men died on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in 2010.
Lawsuits have been filed by the surviving family members of all 5 men who died in Quinton, including the family of 26 year-old Cody Risk.
Risk was trapped in a building on top of the gas rig called the “Doghouse,” where he burned to death because he could not escape, according to the lawsuit.
Investigators believe that the gas rig exploded as a result of an uncontrolled release of natural gas, known as a “kick,” during the drilling operation. Other workers who survived said they were unable to shut off the flow of natural gas using the emergency valve.
Red Mountain Energy is accused of negligence for allowing hazardous working conditions and failing to provide any training or safety policies.
For example, the “company men” held expired Well Control Certificates, and “failed to take necessary steps to control the well,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also accuses Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC of gross negligence and failing to properly train their workers.
Patterson-UTI has been involved in at least 38 deaths between 1999 and 2004, according to a special investigation after a gas worker was killed in 2004.
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