Skip to Main Content

Authorities Identify 5 Presumed Dead in Oklahoma Drilling Rig Explosion


Authorities have released the names of 5 workers who went missing yesterday, following a violent and fiery explosion on a natural gas drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma.

Tragically, all of those unaccounted for in the wake of the explosion are now presumed dead.

Responders Have Moved from Rescue Mission to Recovery Mission

“At this time, we have moved from a rescue mission to a recovery mission,” Pittsburg County sheriff Chris Morris said at a news conference this morning. “They are waiting on the scene to cool down and be stabilized before we can go in.”

The missing workers have been identified as:

  • Matt Smith, 29, of McAlester, Oklahoma
  • Parker Waldridge, 60, of Crescent, Oklahoma
  • Roger Cunningham, 55, of Seminole, Oklahoma
  • Josh Ray, 35 of Fort Worth, Texas
  • Cody Risk, 26, of Wellington, Colorado

According to Rogers, all five men were positioned in an operating room on top of the oil derrick when the explosion occurred.

3 Missing Workers Employed by Houston-Based Patterson-UTI Energy

The rig’s owner, Houston, Texas-based Patterson-UTI Energy, confirmed that three of its employees were among the missing.

“Five people were tragically lost in the event,” Patterson-UTI CEO Andy Hendricks said during today’s news conference. “Our focus right now is supporting the families. This has been a terrible tragedy and a terrible loss.”

One Worker Suffered Burns, Others Escaped Major Injuries

The January 22nd explosion near the town of Quinton, about 100 miles from Tulsa, was reported shortly before 9:00 a.m. at an oil and gas drilling site operated by Oklahoma City-based Red Mountain Operating.

The force of the initial explosion caused the rig to collapse, spreading flames to the surrounding area.

At least two dozen workers where on site when the explosion occurred, 17 of whom were rescued from the rig.

One person was airlifted to a Tulsa hospital with burns. The 16 others escaped major injuries.

Cause of Explosion Remains Under Investigation

The rig fire continued to burn well into last night, preventing crews from searching the wreckage for the missing men.

It’s unknown what led to the explosion.

“Like you, we want to know what caused this horrible event, but today’s not the time for those questions. … At this moment, we’re focused on the difficult days ahead of us,” a spokesperson for Red Mountain Energy said during today’s news briefing. “Our priority sincerely is the people who’ve been affected and the safety of those called to work the well site and investigation.

There were no Red Mountain employees present at the site when the rig blew up.

Contact Our Undefeated Oilfield Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or by Clicking Here

Our Undefeated Oilfield Accident Lawyer continue to monitor developments in the Oklahoma oil rig explosion and will post additional updates when more information becomes available.

Having recovered more than $1 billion for our clients, including hundreds of oil and gas workers who were injured in explosions and other accidents at drilling sites, pipelines, and refineries throughout the United States, our firm has the resources and experience needed to take on the biggest energy companies in world – and win.

If you or someone you love were injured or tragically killed in the Oklahoma explosion, call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Form.”

All questions and consultations are free. And because we only work for a contingency fee, you won’t owe us anything unless we win your case.