Two dead, nine injured after oilfield explosion near Orla, Texas


Two dead, nine injured after oilfield explosion near Orla, Texas


ORLA, Texas (Carlsbad Current-Argus) -- An Artesia man is among the victims of Wednesday morning's fatal oilfield accident near Orla, Texas. The man, who law enforcement officials haven't yet publicly identified, is around 46 years old. The other victim is an El Paso man who was born in 1973, according to the Loving County Sheriff's Department.

Glass and debris were visible around the site Wednesday morning. Witnesses said the explosion shattered windshields and deployed airbags of vehicles parked near the area. About 15 people were on site at the time of the explosion.

A woman on scene, who said she was the girlfriend of the site supervisor, told Current-Argus reporters workers weren't immediately able to report the incident because of a lack of cell phone service in the area. She said her boyfriend had to drive six miles to obtain a cell signal to call 911.


Deputies with the Loving County Sheriff's Department say the injury count from Wednesday morning's oilfield incident has risen to nine. Two people were killed around 8 a.m. Wednesday after a wellhead exploded because of a pressure buildup. Deputies are waiting for a medical examiner to arrive on scene. The nine people who were injured refused medical treatment, according to deputies. Investigators initially said the site may belong to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and may be operated by Chaparral Drilling. John Christiansen, director of external communications for Anadarko, said the company has no affiliation with the site.

The sheriff in Loving County, Texas, has confirmed that two people are dead and four are injured after an early-morning explosion at an oil rig. Loving County Sheriff Billy Hopper said he received a call shortly after 8 a.m. local time on Wednesday about the accident. He dispatched two deputies to the scene.

Various other sheriff's departments in the area, including Eddy County, were contacted for assistance, he said.

Hopper said communication is extremely difficult because of the remote location.

"Out in those parts, our communication is almost next to nothing," he said.

Hopper said he has not received an update since 9:30 a.m.

Hopper said the explosion may have occurred on a rig, but said the accident involved a "separator explosion."

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