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Oklahoma rig blast victims died of burns, smoke inhalation; wrongful death suits filed

Posted at 12:02 PM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 14:03:40-04

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Autopsies show five men killed in a natural gas rig explosion in southeastern Oklahoma died of burns and smoke inhalation.

The state medical examiner's office report released Tuesday classifies each death in the Jan. 22 blast as an accident.

The blast occurred in Pittsburg County near Quinton, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa. It killed: Matt Smith of McAlester; Parker Waldridge of Crescent; Roger Cunningham from Seminole; Josh Ray of Fort Worth, Texas; and Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado.

Survivors and estates of the five men have filed wrongful death lawsuits.

An initial state regulator incident report indicates that the blast happened when an uncontrolled release of gas caught fire. A worker at the scene tried unsuccessfully to shut down the well.