5 people missing after Oklahoma rig explosion

An emergency official says five people are missing after an explosion at a drilling rig in eastern Oklahoma.

The drilling rig in Quinton, about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa, exploded just before 9 a.m. while about two dozen people were working onsite, the Pittsburg County sheriff told KOTV. At least three medical helicopters responded to the explosion.

Seventeen people were accounted for, but five people remained missing Monday afternoon. The explosion sparked several fires and sent thick black smoke into the air. The derrick, a towering metal structure above the well, also collapsed.

Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain said state environmental and regulatory officials have been notified and were heading to the scene. A local emergency dispatcher said the sheriff, undersheriff and county emergency management director are all on the scene.

The drilling site was being operated by Oklahoma City-based Red Mountain Energy, said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas operators in the state. Telephone and email messages left with Red Mountain were not immediately returned.

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