Remains of 5 workers found at gas drilling site

QUINTON, Okla. (AP) - The Latest on an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma (all times local):

KOTV

3 p.m.

Officials say they have recovered the remains of five workers missing since an explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said Tuesday personnel from the state medical examiner's office began searching for the workers about noon once the drilling site had been stabilized.

Morris says the bodies are being transported to Oklahoma City for identification.

The blast happened Monday morning at a drilling site near Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa. The explosion sent plumes of black smoke into the air and left a derrick crumpled on the ground.

Morris says the five employees who were killed were in an area of the drilling rig known as the "dog house" where the rig hands worked.

___

Tuesday - 10:25 a.m.

Officials say the five employees who have been missing since an explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig are presumed dead.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said Tuesday that the search for the workers has turned to a recovery mission after the Monday morning blast in eastern Oklahoma.

Three of the workers were employed by Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. Company president and CEO Andy Hendricks pledged a full investigation into the explosion.

Emergency management officials said Monday night that the fire was extinguished. Authorities say 16 people who were on the site at the time of the blast escaped without major injuries. One person was airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

The missing have been identified as Josh Ray, 35 years old of Fort Worth; Matt Smith, 29 from McAlester, Oklahoma; Cody Risk, 26 years old from Wellington, Colorado; Parker Waldridge from Crescent, Oklahoma; and Roger Cunningham from Seminole, Oklahoma.

The cause of the explosion isn't yet clear.

State authorities are investigating whether any regulations were broken leading up to the explosion.

___

Tuesday - 7:20 a.m.

The search is resuming for five people who are unaccounted for after a fiery explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig.

The blast happened Monday morning at a drilling site near Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa. The explosion sent plumes of black smoke into the air and left a derrick crumpled on the ground. For much of the day Monday, emergency officials were unable to get near the rig because the fire was still burning.

Emergency management officials said Monday night that the fire was extinguished. Authorities say 16 people who were on the site at the time of the blast escaped without major injuries. One person was airlifted to a hospital, and five others remain missing.

The cause of the blast is not yet known.
___

5 p.m.

A Houston-based energy company is confirming some of its employees are missing after an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma.

Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. said in a statement Monday that the cause of the fire remains unknown but that some of their employees "are unaccounted for at this time."

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris says five employees remain missing after the explosion Monday morning on the natural gas rig near Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.

According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the well site is operated by Oklahoma City-based Red Mountain Operating. Patterson is a drilling rig operating company.

Pittsburg County Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe says crews are allowing the fire to burn out to avoid spreading contaminants.

___

1:45 p.m.

A local emergency manager says crews are allowing a fire to burn out following an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma to avoid spreading contaminants.

Five people remain missing after the Monday morning explosion in Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.

Pittsburg County Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe says about 17 workers were rescued from the site shortly after the blast, including one who was treated at the scene for burns.

Enloe says firefighters are searching nearby wooded areas in case any of the missing people fled after the explosion.

He says the fire is mostly containing itself on site, where several tanks and other equipment are located. He says "pretty much everything on site is on fire."

___

12:45 p.m.

The local sheriff says more than 20 employees were on site when a drilling rig exploded in eastern Oklahoma, and five remain unaccounted for.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris tells the McAlester News-Capital that "most everybody" was taken off the site to a safe location following the explosion Monday morning.

The fire continues to burn near Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.

Morris says he can't confirm any injuries or fatalities from the blast. He says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

A spokeswoman says the Oklahoma medical examiner's office wouldn't be able to confirm any fatalities until the fire is extinguished and investigators can get to the scene of the explosion.

___

10:55 a.m.

An emergency official says five people are missing after an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma.

Pittsburg County Emergency Manager Director Kevin Enloe tells KOTV that at least three medical helicopters landed at the site following the Monday morning explosion. He says five people are missing.

The explosion occurred west of the town of Quinton, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa.

Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain tells The Associated Press that it wasn't immediately clear if there were any injuries or fatalities.

Cain says state environmental and regulatory officials have been notified and are heading to the scene. A local emergency dispatcher says the sheriff, undersheriff and county emergency management director are all on the scene.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)