Father, son killed in Dixon area pipeline explosion

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NACHUSA, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in northern Illinois say a father and son were killed in a natural gas pipeline explosion while working on a farm field.

Officials on Wednesday said 59-year-old father Rory Miller of Amboy and 30-year-old son Ryan Miller of Oregon died in the Tuesday morning explosion near Nachusa. Lee County Coroner Jesse Partington said autopsies were performed Wednesday morning but official causes of death were pending pathology results.

According to the Lee County Sheriff's Department farm workers had been installing field tile when a tractor pulling a tiling plow got stuck.  A second tractor was then used to try and free the first tractor, but when it lost traction it hit the pipeline "resulting in fire engulfing the scene."

According to a report by Sauk Valley, the blast happened on M&R Farms, owned by Rory Miller and his wife Kathy, as well as their partners Mark and Gloria Nusbaum.

The pipeline was owned by energy company Kinder Morgan.  A statement from the company indicated that they did not receive a call before the work began.

"Unfortunately, a required one call notification was not provided to the company prior to the work being performed," read a statement from Kinder Morgan.


The Lee County Sheriff's Office said two others were injured, including 20-year-old Michael Koster of Sterling who is in critical condition at a Rockford hospital. Another man was treated and released.

Officials say the explosion happened after the pipeline was struck when a tractor attempting to free another tractor became stuck and lost traction.

Video: What witnesses saw after the pipeline explosion

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