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story.lead_photo.caption Smoke billows from a fi re at a gas well near Quinton, Okla., early Monday.

Oklahoma gas rig blows; people missing

QUINTON, Okla. — Five people are missing after a fiery explosion ripped through an eastern Oklahoma drilling rig on Monday, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and leaving a derrick crumpled on the ground, emergency officials said.

More than 20 employees were at the natural gas well site when the blast was reported around 8:45 a.m., Pitts-burg County Sheriff Chris Morris said.

Emergency crews were pulled away after other explosions at the site, where several tanks are also located, Pittsburg County Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe said during an afternoon news conference.

The explosion occurred west of the town of Quinton, about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa. Enloe said firefighters let the blaze burn and didn’t put water on it to keep from spreading possible hazardous materials at the site.

A statement Monday night from emergency management said the fire was out.

Enloe said about 17 workers were pulled from the site after the blast, including one who suffered minor burns and was treated at the scene.

Confirmation of any fatalities won’t be possible until investigators can get to the scene of the explosion, said Amy Elliott, a spokesman for the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office.

Some flights to get extra cargo screening

WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities issued an emergency order Monday requiring additional screening of cargo on flights departing for the United States from five Mideast countries, citing a threat of terrorism.

The Transportation Security Administration order is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks in response to “persistent threats to aviation,” TSA said in a statement. The countries falling under this order are Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

The countries were chosen because of “demonstrated intent by terrorists groups to attack aviation from them,” the statement said.

Under the requirements of the order, airlines are supposed to provide certain information to U.S. customs officials on the shipments “at the earliest practical point” before loading the cargo. The shipment information is then compared to information the U.S. has on terror threats.

Plea deal in works for tackling of senator

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Federal prosecutors will seek a 21-month prison sentence for the man accused of tackling U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in the Kentucky lawmaker’s yard, according to a court document that says the man “had enough” when he saw the Republican stacking more brush on an existing pile.

The court document filed by federal prosecutors underscored that the motive behind the attack stemmed from a dispute about yard maintenance. In comments to police, neighbor Rene Boucher indicated the attack was not politically motivated, the court document said.

Boucher has been charged with assaulting a member of Congress as part of a federal plea agreement that surfaced last Friday.

Boucher has signed the plea agreement but no date has been set for his guilty plea for the attack on the Republican senator, according to Josh J. Minkler, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

Paul suffered several broken ribs in the attack and later developed pneumonia. Paul has since said he’s recovering well from the attack.

Girl, 15, shot in Texas school; boy held

DALLAS — A 15-year-old student in Texas was injured in a shooting in her high school cafeteria Monday morning and a 16-year-old boy, also a student at the school, was taken into custody, sheriff’s officials said.

The girl was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas after the shooting in the small town of Italy, some 45 miles south of Dallas, said Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald of the Ellis County sheriff’s office. Her condition was not known. The shooting happened at about 7:50 a.m. in the Italy High School cafeteria.

Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge said the suspect “engaged the victim” and fired several shots from a semi-automatic .380 handgun before being confronted by a school district staff member and fleeing.

Edge said that after the suspect fled the cafeteria, he was arrested on school grounds.

Photo by AP/KTVT Dallas Fort Worth/JENNIFER LINDGREN
Law enforcement personnel from the Ellis County sheriff’s officepark outside the high school in Italy, Texas, after a shooting at the school Monday morning.

A Section on 01/23/2018

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