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Lawsuit filed in drilling rig death

The father of a man killed in a drilling rig incident last year in McKenzie County last year has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the rig and the well site.

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Randall Winter of Kalispell, Mont., filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Montana on Monday against Pioneer Drilling and Whiting Petroleum.

Kyle Winter, 22, died from chest and abdominal injuries after he was crushed by a set of power tongs while working on a drilling rig on Jan. 31, 2013. Pioneer owned the rig and Whiting owned the well site.

The lawsuit alleges that the companies failed to protect subcontractors and employees on the job site.

The lawsuit says that Winter and others who worked for Heller Casing were not allowed to use a more secure set of power tongs that were on site. The tongs the Heller Casing employees were using, which weighed at least 1,200 pounds, detached from the cable and fell on Winter, the lawsuit says. The tongs were reinforced with electrical tape and the temperature that day was 20 below zero, the lawsuit claims.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the incident and fined Heller Casing $14,000.

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