Work Underway to Identify 5 Workers Killed in Rig Explosion


The Oklahoma Medical Examiner is in the process of formally identifying the five workers killed in the Monday morning explosion that destroyed a gas-drilling rig near Quinton in Pittsburg County.

The bodies were discovered Tuesday in the crushed doghouse at the site of the rig. The rig collapsed amidst the explosion and resulting fire.

Federal agencies have started an investigation along with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission  which initially blamed a release of gas as causing the deadly blast. Among the federal agencies are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the EPA.


Congressman Markwayne Mullin said federal agencies will be involved in the probe. They will attempt to not only identify the cause but perhaps correct problems at other drilling sites.

“We never want to look at something like this and not dive deep into it,” said the 2nd District U.S. Representative who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The five missing workers were identified as:

Josh Ray, 35, of Ft. Worth, Texas

Matt Smith, 29, of McAlester, Oklahoma

Cody Risk, 26, of Wellington, Colorado

Parker Waldridge, of Crescent, Oklahoma

Roger Cunningham, of Seminole, Oklahoma

They were on a rig operated by Red Mountain Operating LLC of Oklahoma City. The firm was running the rig for Patterson UTI based in Houston, Texas.

Pittsburg county authorities believe the explosion originated from the dog house because of its location to the drilling machinery. Seventeen other workers escaped the burning rig and one was flown to a hospital in Tulsa.

The injured worker was a Patterson-UTI employee who was flown by helicopter to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa for treatment. He  was on top of the oil derrick around the time of the explosion when he grabbed a guideline and escaped to safety.