5 missing in rig explosion

Five people are missing after a fiery explosion ripped through an eastern Oklahoma drilling rig Monday morning, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and leaving a derrick crumpled on the ground, emergency officials said.

Pittsburg County Emergency Manager Director Kevin Enloe said at least three medical helicopters landed at the site following the explosion. He said about 17 workers were taken off the site following the blast, but that five remained missing Monday afternoon.

Aerial footage shows several fires still burning at the site, and the derrick, the towering metal structure above the well, collapsed onto the ground. The explosion occurred west of the town of Quinton, about 161 kilometres southeast of Tulsa.

More than 20 employees were at the well site when the explosion occurred, said Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris.

"Most everybody was taken off the site and taken to a secure site here in Quinton," he said.

Morris confirmed that five people were unaccounted for, but he said could not confirm any fatalities or injuries.

Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma medical examiner's office, said she wouldn't be able to confirm any fatalities until the fire is extinguished and investigators can get to the scene of the explosion.

"I pray there's not, but we just don't know yet," Elliott said.

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