Two workers dead after Oklahoma dam explosion

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Two workers were killed in an Oklahoma dam explosion Thursday night, a dam agency official said.

The bodies of the contractors, who have not been identified, were recovered from Kerr Dam Friday morning, said John Wiscaver, executive vice president of the Grand River Dam Authority.

The two men had been trapped since the 6 p.m. explosion.

One contractor who was with the men at the time of the blast was able to get out Thursday night, said Justin Alberty, spokesman for the Grand River Dam Authority. That worker initially declined treatment but was later taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The contractors were about 80 feet down from the top of the dam and doing routine core sample drilling when they were trapped, he said.

Alberty said they were in an inspection gallery when the explosion happened, and he believed that officials had been in contact with them at some point.

The blast did not compromise the structure of the dam, Alberty said.

The core sample drilling into the bedrock below the dam was described as part of a routine dam safety program.

Alberty said that there may have been a pocket of natural methane gas, but cautioned that the cause of the explosion has not been determined. The incident is under investigation.

The Kerr Dam is on the south end of Lake Hudson in Mayes County, southwest of Salina.

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