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Man with burns to 90% of body airlifted to Lubbock hospital after industrial accident

The worker was using a cutting torch to cut vents into the surface casing which ignited...
The worker was using a cutting torch to cut vents into the surface casing which ignited paraffin inside or around the intermediate well casing. This ignited the residual gas inside the intermediate well casing causing a flashover.(Lea County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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LEA COUNTY, New Mexico (KCBD) - A Eunice, New Mexico man who was trying to remove a well head from a plugged, abandoned oil well near Tatum, has been airlifted to a Lubbock hospital.

Around 10 a.m., Lea County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to an industrial accident in the area of Heidel Road and Whitmore Road, southeast of Tatum, New Mexico. A male victim, who has not been identified, was severely injured in the incident, with burns to more than 90 percent of his body.

Lea County Sheriff’s Investigators learned the contractor was in the process of removing the well head using a cutting torch to cut vents into the surface casing. The torch ignited paraffin inside or around the intermediate well casing. The residual gas inside the intermediate well casing ignited causing a flashover.

The victim was airlifted by Native Air to a Lubbock, Texas hospital, and his condition is unknown.

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