Drilling rig collapses near Meeker, kills one


A drilling rig collapsed 55 miles southwest of Meeker on Monday night, killing one worker.
Scott Nelson, 26, of Warren, Pa., died when the drilling rig he was on collapsed, said Rio Blanco Undersheriff Michael Joos. Nelson worked for Union Drilling, based in Vernal, Utah.
The company was drilling on behalf of Encana Oil and Gas Inc., said Lara Salazar of Encana.
No one else was injured in the accident, which occurred at 10 p.m. Monday, Salazar said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the cause of the collapse, Joos said. The Rio Blanco Sheriff's Office will be assisting the investigation.
Encana has not been active in Moffat County, said Jeff Comstock, Natural Resources director. However, Encana is in the process of acquiring Tom Brown Inc., an oil and gas company that has been active in gas development in the county.

Four people rescued after a rock punctured canoe
A group floating the Yampa River had to be rescued Monday after a rock punctured the canoe in which they were riding.
The foursome included two people from Meeker and two from Colorado Springs, said Moffat County sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Tim Jantz. One was a teenager and the other three were in their late 40s or early 50s, Jantz said.
When Deputy Alec Brown arrived at the scene, the group was safe on an island on the north side of the river, Jantz said.
"We didn't even have to put our boat in the water," Jantz said.
Jantz said he did not know whether the canoe was recovered.
Jantz said the accident should serve as a reminder to river recreationists that even less-than-record flow rates can cause problems for those who take to the water. Obstacles such as downed trees, log jams and rocks can force paddlers into dangerous situations.
"Even at 2,000 to 4,000 (cubic feet per second), which is what the river is running, it can do some damage," Jantz said.
Jantz advised people to bring safety equipment on their river excursions, let friends and relatives know their destination and never go solo.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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