QUINTON, Okla. – A tight-knit community is devastated after rescue crews recovered the bodies of five missing men after a drilling rig exploded Monday in Pittsburg County.
“Notified that all five of the missing workers have been located,” said Sheriff Chris Morris.
More than 20 workers were on site when the flames engulfed the rig.
Officials say because the fire was so hot, rescue crews had to wait to get inside to where the workers had last been seen.
By Tuesday morning, there was little hope.
“At this time, we moved from a rescue mission to a recovery mission,” Morris said.
The workers have been identified as Josh Ray, 35, Matthew Smith, 29, Cody Risk, 26, Parker Waldridge, 60, and Roger Cunningham, 55.
Smith, Waldridge, and Cunningham were all from Oklahoma, Ray from Texas, and Risk from Colorado.
“Five people were tragically loss in this event. We’re currently providing support for the families and we’re meeting with them to offer our deepest sympathies in this tragedy,” said Andy Hendrick, President/CEO of Patterson UTI Energy.
Hendrick says three of the men worked for his company.
The rig was operated by Red Mountain Energy.
“This is the first time we’ve ever encountered anything like this and our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the families that were affected by this horrible tragedy,” said Tony Say.
Now, the mission shifts again from recovery to the investigation into what went wrong.
The medical examiner’s office will bring the bodies of the men to Oklahoma City so they can be positively identified.