Victim was knocked 6 feet in fatal drilling rig accident |

Victim was knocked 6 feet in fatal drilling rig accident

Heidi Rice

A high-pressure gate valve that came off a leaky standpipe on a Cyclone rig north of Parachute early in the evening of Oct. 21 struck and killed Shane Hill, 34, of Grand Junction and blew his body 6 feet away from the valve, a state report says.

The rig was being operated for WPX Energy.

The accident report filed with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said that the rig’s day crew had tightened a leaking standpipe and fitted it with a new gasket. The day driller informed the night crew of the repair, but when the evening crew took over, the pipe began to leak again.

Operators decided to shut down and repair the leaking gasket. The crew began by attempting to dislodge a manifold to perform the repair. After several attempts to dislodge the manifold, the crew decided that removing a 2-inch fill-up flex line was necessary. Workers did that and replaced the gasket.

The manifold was put back in position and tightened. The rig manager gave the word for the driller to turn the pumps on and pressurize the system to allow the rig to resume drilling.

“Once the system was pressurized to 2,700 psi, the 2-inch high-pressure gate valve parted from the 2-inch high-pressure nipple on the standpipe, striking [Hill],” the report said.

Hill was struck on the back of the head, according to Garfield County deputy coroner Thomas Walton.

After the drilling fluid cleared, the crew reported finding Hill approximately 6 feet away from the valve. Efforts by crew members and emergency medical workers to revive him were unsuccessful, the report said.

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