The father of a 22-year-old Montana man killed while working in the Bakken oil fields sued two oil companies, alleging inappropriate and negligent use of equipment.

The federal suit alleges that Pioneer Drilling Services and Whiting Petroleum negligently caused the death of Kyle Winter on January 31.

Winter was installing pipe at a North Dakota oil well for his employer, Heller Casing, when he was killed, the Billings Gazette said.

Bozeman attorney Justin Stalpes said a 1,200-pound piece of equipment fell on Winter and crushed his chest and abdomen.

Winter was installing pipe using power tongs when the accident occurred.

Power tongs are used to twist the pipe into place at a freshly drilled oil well, Stalpes said.

The lawsuit alleges that the tongs Winter was using weren’t securely fastened but hung loosely on three open hook, the Billings Gazette said.

Temperatures of 20 below zero made some connecting tape “brittle and unreliable,” the complaint alleged.

Randall Winter wants damages for his son’s death from Texas-based Pioneer, which owned the equipment,  and land owner Whiting Petroleum.

Kyle Winter’s employer, Heller Casing, isn’t named in the suit.

Under North Dakota law, an employer carrying workers compensation insurance cannot be sued for negligence, the report said.


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