At least five people are missing following a drilling rig explosion in Pittsburg County, officials say.
According to the Associated Press, the drilling rig explosion occurred around 9 am Monday at a site just west of Quinton, roughly 100 miles southeast of Tulsa. Aerial footage showed several fires had formed following the initial explosion, sending plumes of smoke bellowing into the air.
Reports suggest 22 people were working on the rig when the explosion occurred; however, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management was unable to confirm any injuries or fatalities.
Officials did reveal that at least five people are unaccounted for.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission confirmed that Red Mountain Energy LLC operated the site, and officials said the rig was drilling for natural gas and oil. Red Mountain Energy LLC was unable to confirm what the rig was drilling for.
What caused the explosion is currently unknown and remains under investigation.
As America attempts to curb its dependence on foreign oil, more efforts are being made to produce these valuable goods domestically. This means a booming oil and gas industry, one that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. In 2016, 178,500 people worked in the oil and gas extraction industry alone. But these rich resources come at a cost — the business of extraction is a dangerous one, killing and injuring hundreds of workers every year.
Due to the sheer amount of drilling occurring and thousands of workers across the country, oilfield accidents are simply bound to happen. Many of these accidents, however, are the result of negligence. As a worker, oil and gas companies are responsible for following proper safety procedures to keep you safe on the job. Oilfield accidents occur when employers cut corners and put profit before your safety and well being. Oilfield accidents can leave workers with injuries that last them their entire life. These debilitating work injuries include:
Unfortunately, oilfield accidents can cause fatal injuries, too. In 2015, there were 120 deaths in the oil and gas industry. The families of fallen gas and oil workers deserve compensation and justice if their loved one died as a result of a negligent individual or company.