Another industrial accident near Orla takes a life

Photo courtesy of Culberson County Sherriff’s Office

By Lisa Morton

Culberson County Sheriff officials and EMS were busy in the Northern portion of the county near Orla, the site of busy oil and gas activity.  Upon arrival to a Nabors Drilling Rig, Sheriff Oscar Carrillo reported he was escorted to the site of the fatal accident.   Sheriff Carrillo was advised that 44-year-old Jose Velasquez, of Lovington, New Mexico was killed underneath the drilling rigs deck plate where he was tethered and working in a chamber with rotating blades that requires periodic cleaning when the accident happened.

The unattended death was documented by Sheriff Carrillo as the initial process of the investigation.  Carrillo told The Advocate the accident was with Man Welding Services based out of Lovington, New Mexico.

The accident marks six fatalities, according to the Sheriff, associated with drilling in the county since about 2005.  The last incident involved a fire, which broke out at the Ramsey Natural Gas Processing Plant near Orla in December 2015.  During that incident, 200 people were on site with two minor injuries reported. Eyewitnesses as far away as Carlsbad report feeling the explosion.


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