Four people were airlifted to hospitals in Louisiana after an oil rig exploded off the coast, Coast Guard officials said. Two workers were also missing.
The Associated Press reports:
The rig, a production platform owned by Black Elk Energy, is about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La… The platform is a production platform, unlike the Deepwater Horizon rig, which was drilling an exploratory well for oil giant BP in mile-deep water well to the east of Friday’s reported explosion.
South Louisiana’s KLFY posted a photo from a Facebook user who says that his friend sent him this photo after the explosion. We’re trying to get in touch with the user to verify the photo.
Black Elk Energy: As reported by the AP, the platform is owned by Black Elk Energy, an oil and gas company headquartered in Houston, Texas. In October, the company announced that it had plans to “begin drilling and major rig work on the first of the 23 wells beginning in November of 2012.”
CEO John Hoffman has not yet posted any updates about the explosion on his Twitter account.
— John Cádiz Klemack (@johnNBCLA) November 16, 2012
Report: 30-40 workers were on the rig
UPDATE (12:45 p.m. ET): 28 workers were on the platform, per Coast Guard officials.
En route to Grand Isle, where Jefferson Parish officials say #platformfire evacuees were transported. B/W 30-40 were on rig.
— Maya Rodriguez (@MRodriguezWWL) November 16, 2012
Critical injuries: From Baton Rouge CBS affiliate WAFB:
— WAFB (@WAFB) November 16, 2012
Coast Guard: Crew was performing “shutdown” work: From NOLA.com:
Cpt. Peter Gautier of the Coast Guard said there were 28 workers on the rig at the time the fire erupted. Employees were allegedly performing “shutdown platform work,” according to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Apparently a pipe, with oil inside, ignited while being cut, Gautier said.