Chevron employee fell into deep hole filled with steam, oil
The body of a man killed Tuesday when he slipped into a sinkhole west of Taft has been recovered.
Sources told the Taft Midway Driller that the victim was retrieved about 4 a.m. Wednesday, ending a a 20-hour ordeal.
The victim was a longtime Chevron employee walking with coworkers in a producing Chevron field south of entrance 20 of Midoil Road near a road sometimes called “Kitty Litter Road.”
His name is being withheld at this time.
Sources told the Midway Driller that his coworkers heard him yell, then turned and could see only his hard hat atop the ground
“The land literally gave way beneath him,” Kern County Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins said.?The two men with him tried to hold him but he slipped out of their reach and they ran to summon help.?Firefighters and paramedics responded to the 10:50 a.m. call but there was nothing they could do.
The accident occurred in an section of the Midway Sunset Oilfield where the oil formations can be very shallow.
Oil sometimes seeps at the surface and steam also comes out of the ground in places, people familiar with the area said.
It is very heavily steamed, with shiny insulated pipes carrying steam from banks of steam generators to injection wells where the steam is used to loosen the thick Midway Sunset crude and make it easier to pump from the ground.
Chevron spokesman Carla Musser said the company would have a comment at a later time.
She did say the victim's coworkers were taking the loss very hard.
“We're a family,” she said.?