Two dead, one injured in Mitchell County oilfield electrocution

On August 20, a team of three Texan oilfield workers were removing a pump jack when one of its cables struck a power line overhead. The connection electrocuted Laban Robokoff, 24, and Harvey McKinney, 36, killing them both. CPR was performed, but they were pronounced dead enroute to the hospital. Steven McKinney, 32, Harvey McKinney’s brother, was taken to a Colorado City hospital, then flown to a hospital in Lubbuck, where he is expected to recover steadily.

The Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office stated that McKinney may be ready for release within a few days. Sheriff Patrick Toombs outlined the accident. According to his statement, the McKinneys and Robokoff were disassembling the pump jack in order to move it with a winch truck. 

As the truck backed up, Robokoff was pulling back a cable of the jack, which was in contact with the truck. When the cable touched the power line, it electrocuted Robokoff. Harvey McKinney, who was walking behind the truck, touched it in response. The power surged through the cable to the vehicle, killing McKinney as well. The driver of the truck was not injured. Toombs said that officials are currently unsure why the cable struck the electric line.

All three were employed by Rayco Pumping Unit Service of Midland. 

OSHA has launched an investigation into the incident. Investigators have not yet determined fault in the accident. Potential factors include the location and height of the power line, equipment failure, lack of supervision and unsafe working conditions in the oil field. Careful consideration will be required before any conclusions can be drawn.

By Mary Ellis LaGarde

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