UPDATE: Report: Human error caused deadly pipeline accident near Dixon

UPDATE: NACHUSA, Ill. (WIFR) -- Federal investigators rule human error is to blame for a natural gas pipeline explosion last year that killed a father and son and left two others seriously hurt.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration say workers, installing a drainage tile, ruptured the pipeline with a tiling plow, causing the explosion near Dixon.

Investigators say the owner of the land didn't contact the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators before starting the project.

Rory Miller, 59, of Amboy, and his son, Ryan, 30, of Oregon, died in the explosion. Michael Koester of Sterling and Kyler Ackland of West Brooklyn were hurt. The Millers leased the land and had farmed it for decades.

23 News also reached out to the Kinder Morgan, the company that owns the pipeline. In a statement Kinder Morgan says "NGPL conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that the cause of the incident was a third-party line strike which resulted in the immediate failure of the pipeline. No other potential causes were identified during the investigation".

The Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL) is the largest transporter of natural gas into the Chicago-area, according to Kinder Morgan's website.


NACHUSA, Ill. (WIFR) -- When word of the fatal pipeline explosion in the Lee County town of Nachusa filtered through the region, neighbors of those impacted began reaching out with support. Now the community prepares to lay two of their own to rest.

The explosion at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline remains under investigation, with the pipeline company, as well as the State Fire Marshall, but as investigators look for answers, families of those affected ask for support.

According to posts on the Koster family's GoFundMe account, Michael Koster, the 20-year-old from Sterling who remains in critical condition was on a backhoe and rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames. This left him with second and third-degree burns on about 50 to 60 percent of his body. A neighbor of Koster says this is a tough time for his family. He explains the family helped him through a challenging time, and now he's saying it's his turn to lend a neighborly hand.

"I’m going to be going down and helping on the farm with getting the animals fed and doing as much as I can. We'll be praying for him, our family's praying for him. You know we're here for them and that's the most important thing," said the Koster family’s neighbor, Don Bitler.

The father and son, Rory and Ryan Miller, will be laid to rest together this weekend. The visitation for the two will be held on Friday from 4-7 p.m. at the New Life Lutheran Church in Sterling and also from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday until the funeral service at 11 a.m.

Kyler Ackland, the 20-year-old from West Brooklyn, was treated and released from the hospital.