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GRDA: Investigation launches after two people died from Kerr Dam explosion

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Posted at 7:45 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 20:16:42-04

MAYES COUNTY, Okla. — An investigation is launched over last night's deadly explosion at the Kerr Dam which GRDA says could take several weeks.

Currently, GRDA is working to notify family members of the two workers who were trapped and killed. There was also a third worker involved, but he was able to make it out safely with minor injuries.

The three workers were subcontracted to scour the Kerr Dam. Their job was to determine its current structural strength after significant flooding over the last several years.

GRDA acquired the three subcontracted workers through the Oklahoma State School of Geology. All three were from a company called DA Smith Drilling out of Colorado.

While the three were drilling in the Kerr Dam, they found natural gas. There was enough of it for them to launch a special safety protocol that requires workers to cap the leak with concrete. That's what they were in the middle of doing when the explosion happened.

The bodies of the two contractors were recovered early this morning. The two killed were 90 feet deep in an inspection tunnel during the explosion.

"Safety is paramount at GRDA whether it’s our employees or people working on our behalf. We take the safety aspect of what we do very seriously," said John Wiscaver, Executive Vice President of GRDA. "We’re going to continue that investigation, which is ongoing as we speak to determine all aspects of why the event occurred.”

GRDA's internal engineers and other staff are the ones conducting this investigation.

This is a developing story. We'll continue to update as we learn more.

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