Divers, hampered by heavy seas, rain and 45-knot winds, temporarily suspended their search late yesterday for eight men believed trapped when an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico toppled over on a collapsed support leg.
Coast Guard and private vessels plucked 26 men from the dark Gulf waters 12 miles off the Galveston coast. Four required hospitalization, including one with an arm sheared off and others with burns.
Divers withdrew from the water yesterday afternoon when it became apparent that they would need more air hoses to allow them to get into the mostly submerged wreckage, said Tommy Clemmons, Coast Guard operations duty officer. Although the extra equipment arrived in the evening, the rescue operation was suspended while divers waited for a break in the weather.
Coast Guard officials said earlier that the search for the missing men would continue into the night. CAPTION: Picture 1, The 115-foot-long oil platform, at left, balances precariously after the collapse of one of the three legs supporting it 58 feet above the ocean floor. AP; Map no caption, By Dave Cook-The Washington Post; Picture 2, At right, one of the 26 crewmen rescued from the rig off the Texas coast is helped to car after treatment in Galveston. UPI