Oil platform blaze in Gulf of MexicoNews // April 21, 2010
BBC News Online reports that the US Coast Guards is searching the Gulf of Mexico for at least 11 oil workers missing after an explosion and fire on a drilling platform. The rig was still burning hours after the blast on Tuesday night 52 miles (84km) south-east of the Louisiana port of Venice. Coast guards spoke of conflicting reports on the number of missing, which ranged from 11 to 15. Seven injured workers have been airlifted to hospitals.
BBC said workers evacuated the Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible rig operated by Swiss-based contractor Transocean, after the blast at around 2200 on Tuesday (0300 GMT Wednesday). There were 126 workers aboard the rig at the time.
Coast guard spokesman Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry said four helicopters, four coast guard boats and a plane were helping search for the missing workers. "We're hoping everyone's in a life raft," he added. The seven injured workers were airlifted to a naval air station near New Orleans, then taken to hospitals. Two were taken to a trauma centre in Mobile, Alabama, which has a burns unit. Fire boats were still battling the flames on the rig as of Wednesday morning.
"It's burning pretty good and there's no estimate on when the fire will be put out," the coast guard spokesman said.
Deepwater Horizon was drilling for BP BP.L in Mississippi Canyon Block 252, Reuters news agency reports.
In a statement, Transocean said "a substantial majority" of the crew were safe but "some" crew members remained unaccounted for.