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Forum News Service, Published February 01 2013

Man dies following drilling rig accident

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the death of an oil field worker who was injured while working on a rig north of Watford City.

Preliminary information indicates that the 22-year-old man was crushed by a set of power tongs on Pioneer Rig 74 off state Highway 1806 and McKenzie County Road 10, said Eric Brooks, area director for the Bismarck OSHA office.

Power tongs are used on drilling rigs to handle pipe going in and out of well holes.

The incident happened about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Brooks said. The man, an employee of Heller Casing Service Inc., died while receiving treatment from paramedics who were preparing to fly him to Bismarck, Brooks said.

A representative from Heller Casing in Williston declined to comment.

The cause of the incident is under investigation, Brooks said. An OSHA spokeswoman said the agency does not release victims’ names.

McKenzie County Sheriff Ron Rankin said his office will not release the name because it’s not part of a criminal investigation. McKenzie County Coroner Calvin Parrish also declined to release the name.

Earlier in January, a Duluth, Minn., on a hydraulic fracturing crew died in an accident north of Watford City.

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