Injured Osprey Platform worker in critical condition

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

A Kasilof man was in critical condition Tuesday following injuries sustained on a Cook Inlet oil platform.

Nabors Alaska Drilling employee Robert Chandler, 34, was in the intensive care unit at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage following the accident on Forest Oil Corp.'s Osprey Platform near West Foreland.

Chandler was injured early Saturday morning, when he was pinned beneath a 4,500-pound drill collar. A drill collar is a heavy piece of pipe used to carry drilling fluids to the bit. Workers often lower several segments of collar into the hole before switching to regular pipe.

Gary Carlson, Forest Oil senior vice president for Alaska operations, said Chandler apparently unlatched the elevator that held the drill collar, and the collar fell on him.

Battalion Chief Warren Isham said the Nikiski Fire Department was paged at 2:56 a.m. on Saturday, and medics flew to the platform. They found Chandler conscious and talking, but having trouble breathing, he said. They flew him to Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna.

Chandler was airlifted to Providence on Monday morning, his sister Julie Chandler said. On Tuesday morning, Providence spokesperson Karina Jennings said he was in critical condition. Carlson said Nabors has not yet provided Forest Oil with details of the accident, and he did not know why it occurred. Forest Oil has only one employee on the platform, a drilling foreman. The drilling crew reports to a Nabors employee, he said.

Paul Smith, drilling superintendent with Nabors in Anchorage, declined to comment Monday and did not return calls Tuesday.

Carlson said he did not initially believe Chandler's injuries were serious, since Chandler called the platform after he was flown to Soldotna. He said Nabors has not given Forest detailed information about Chandler's condition.

"I heard that he had been transferred to Anchorage and it developed to be more serious than initially thought," he said.

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