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ND Health Department releases cause of oil-related death

BISMARCK - A 19-year-old man who died at a well pad in April succumbed to cardiac arrhythmia, according to a North Dakota Department of Health forensic report.

Zachary Buckles, who worked for a company subcontracting with Continental Resources, was found unresponsive April 28 at a well about 10 miles south of Williston, according to the report. He was walking across a catwalk near tanks of petroleum when he collapsed. He died at the scene.

Initial reports indicated Buckles had been testing gauges on the oil tank when he was overcome by hydrocarbon vapors, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Director Eric Brooks previously said. Petroleum vapor exposure was listed not as the main cause, but as a significant contributor to Buckles’ death. Other conditions included cardiac hypertrophy, coronary hypogenesis and obesity.

The report did not list Buckles’ residency.

Brooks said this was the fourth oil-related death since Oct. 1.

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