Home / News / Bakken News / Man dies on well site, apparently from H2S: 20-year-old found dead over open cover of crude tank

Man dies on well site, apparently from H2S: 20-year-old found dead over open cover of crude tank

By Katherine Lymn, The Dickinson Press

WILLISTON — A 20-year-old man died earlier this week at a well site 5 miles south of Williston.

Zachary Buckles, of Glasgow, Mont., was found unresponsive at the site and died sometime between late Sunday night and about 5 a.m. Monday, OSHA area director Eric Brooks said.

The state medical examiner found no obvious signs of the cause of death, but it is awaiting lab results for hydrogen sulfate levels, according to a McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department release.

Since Buckles was found over the open cover of a crude oil tank, “it is believed that he died as a result of H2S gas exposure,” the department said.

Buckles was apparently performing tank gauging operations at the time of his death. He was employed by Black Gold Testers, a subcontractor on the Continental Resources-leased site. Continental spokeswoman Kristin Thomas Miskovsky confirmed in an email that Buckles was a flowtester working on a Continental wellsite.

An OSHA investigator was on site Monday.

This is the 38th oilfield death investigated by OSHA since fiscal year 2010, Brooks said.

The original report was for a party trapped under a rolled-over semi truck, according to the sheriff’s department release.

“It was discovered upon responders’ arrival at the scene that the incident was not a traffic crash, but was in fact a deceased male on top of a tank at an oil location,” according to the department.

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