Two workers were missing and 11 were airlifted to hospitals Friday after an explosion and fire aboard a Gulf of Mexico oil rig that was apparently triggered by workers using a torch to cut into a pipe, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
A Coast Guard official briefs reporters on the explosion and fire aboard a Gulf of Mexico oil rig.
Earlier reports from local officials said two workers had died, but the Coast Guard could not confirm that.
Rescue crews searched the Gulf some 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La., for the missing workers. At least four of the injured are in critical condition, according to Jefferson Parish Emergency Management.
The fire was later extinguished, Coast Guard Capt. Ed Cubanski told reporters, and the platform appears to be structurally sound. Twenty-two people gallons of oil that could have spilled when a pipe ruptured, Cubanski said.
It does not appear the incident could lead to a major environmental disaster, added Coast Guard Capt. Peter Gautier.
He said initial reports suggested that the explosion occurred when maintenance workers using a torch cut into a pipe with oil inside.
The platform is a shallow-water production platform, unlike BP's Macondo well that blew out in 2010 in mile-deep water. The Macondo explosion killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
UPDATE: Plaquemines Parish Press Release -- The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed an explosion and fire on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico at 9:15 a.m. The rig is believed to be off the coast of Grand Isle in Federal waters.
Work was being done on the platform which caused the explosion and fire. The fire is out and there is no oil believed to be leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. The rig is a production facility. There were 28 people on the rig. Eight people were involved in the incident, two are reported dead, two missing, and four were airlifted to West Jeff Medical Center.
Plaquemines Port Authority was immediately notified by the Coast Guard and are on stand-by in Venice to support the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard is on the scene with multiple boats and aircrafts. Three commercial vessels are also on scene.
ES&H clean-up has been dispatched to handle any possible pollution. They have set up their command center in Houma.
More information will be given as it becomes available.
Photo courtesy: WDSU
Four people are hurt and two others are believed to be missing following an oil rig fire in the Gulf of Mexico.
A total of 28 were on board the Black Elk Energy rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig is located about 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle.
According to the US Coast Guard the explosion happened around 9:30 a.m. Friday morning. The fire is now out.
CNBC is reporting that two people were killed in the explosion.
The platform was not actively producing oil and officials don't believe there is a large chance the accident could produce a major environmental disaster, Coast Guard Capt. Peter Gautier said.
He said initial reports suggested that maintenance workers were cutting into a pipe and that oil might have escaped, causing the explosion.
The platform is a shallow-water production platform, unlike BP's Macondo well in mile-deep water that blew out in 2010. That disaster led to an explosion that killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
On its website, Black Elk Energy stated that this month it was starting to drill the first of 23 new wells in the Gulf of Mexico.