Twelve Aramco Employees Died
Twelve Aramco employees died Sunday morning, August 5, in a fire that occurred when crude oil ignited after escaping from a pipeline that was being repaired. Fifteen other employees were injured in the fire and ten of them remain hospitalized in Dhahran, two in critical condition.
The dead include ten Saudi Arabs, one Pakistani, and one American employee. Names are being withheld pending notification of relatives.
The tragedy occurred in the Abqaiq South Plant area at 5 a.m. as crews were preparing to complete the repair of a 40-inch pipeline near Pump Station No. 6. Following a routine procedure, oil was being put into the pipeline to displace potentially combustible gas vapors prior to welding. Although the line apparently was not yet filled and was under little pressure, a leak developed, the oil caught fire and the immediate vicinity was rapidly enveloped in flames.
The Abqaiq Fire Brigade extinguished the fire by 6 a.m. Ambulances took the injured to the medical centers in Abqaiq and Dhahran.
Damage was essentially confined to two pipelines, the QA-6, which was being repaired, and the parallel QA-7 line. The pump station, located about 250 feet from the site of the repair work, was not damaged by fire. It is expected that repairs will be completed and normal operations resumed in five to seven days.
Condolence messages from Bapco, Tapline, and Aramco Overseas Company have been received by the company in the wake of last week's tragedy in Abqaiq in which 13 employees lost their lives. Eleven Saudi Arabs, one American, and one Pakistani died as a result of a fire that occurred when crude oil ignited from a pipeline under repair, the QA-6.
The latest victim, Sa'ad M. Annami, a heavy crane operator in the Transportation Department, died in the hospital last Saturday morning. With the exception of Issa H. al-Haffah, a helper in the Equipment Services Division, who also died in the hospital, all others were killed at the scene of the tragedy on Sunday morning, Aug. 5.
The one American among the victims was John E. Rushing, an inspector (welding, equipment, electrical) in the Engineering Department's Inspection Division, who joined the company only last February. Rushing came to Arabia from Krum, Tex., near Dallas. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou, and two grown sons. Memorial services for Mr. Rushing were held in the Abqaiq Theater on Tuesday, August 7.
Ashgar Abbas, a Pakistani national, was a maintenance machinist who joined the Abqaiq Plants Maintenance Division in December of last year.
The remaining victims of the accident were Saudi Arabs. One was a member of the Plants and Pipelines Department, assistant operator Hassan A. ash-Shawaf, who had taken his post on June 20. All others were from the Equipment Services Division, all long-time employees whose service ranged from 20 to 26 years. They were Fraih F. ash-Shammari, foreman, Pipeline Maintenance; Ahmed H. al-Lubari, foreman, Equipment Services operations; Jumah S. Abu Flasin, mechanic repairman; Hassan M. ad-Daussary, forklift operator; Ibrahim S. al-Ja'far, Equipment Services helper; Abdulla N. Shommri, Equipment Services helper; Hamed B. al-Marri, field lubrication mechanic; and Sa'ad N. al-Alaiwi, metals mechanic. [Photographs]