Two oilfield workers from East Texas were critically injured Monday night in an explosion inside a work trailer at a well site 16 miles south of Charlotte in Atascosa County.
Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward said the men were working on a perforating gun, a tool that commonly uses electrical charges to puncture pipe as part of the fracking process that breaks up shale underground.
"What happened exactly we don't know," Soward said. "There was an explosion and we know the end result."
Atascosa County first responders reported finding two critically injured men, one with both hands blown off and the other without an arm.
A SAMMC spokesperson said William Crabb, 28, of Tyler was in critical condition. Christopher Barrios, 27, of Chandler was in stable condition. Sward said a third man was injured slightly in the explosion that appeared to have leveled anything that was nearby. The workers were employed by J.W. Wireline.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration would only confirm the agency was investigating the incident.
Soward said the biggest obstacle was trying to reach the badly injured men.
"It's a 25-mile drive from Jourdanton to get there, about one mile from the McMullen County line," Soward said, plus another 25-minute return trip to board the helicopter flight to SAMMC.
Atascosa County, like many parts of South Texas, are in the midst of an oil boom.
"People are just going to have to realize it's a dangerous situation and it can happen anytime," said Casey Cook, an Atascosa County farmer.
Kent Schwartz, another farmer said he agrees.
"We've got to have production to get away from Middle East oil. At the same, tragedies come with it," he said.
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