Search continues for two missing after platform fire
NEW ORLEANS - The Coast Guard said they are continuing to search for two missing oil platform workers after a cutting torch caused an explosion and fire this morning.
Capt. Ed Cubanski told reporters at the noon briefing there were no confirmed deaths. Emergency managers had erroneously reported two workers were dead after the fire.
Cubanski said 11 people were taken to area hospitals from the rig, which had a total of 26 people on it at the time of the fire. Four of those workers were critically injured in the explosion, and were taken to the Baton Rouge General Burn Unit.
"The burn unit doctors are doing everything they can to care for these victims," said Dr. Flip Roberts, Chief Medical Officer for BRG.
Cubanski said they were told a worker was using an acetylene torch to cut into an oil line, which caused the fire. They said no oil is believed to be leaking into the Gulf, and the rig is still structurally sound. A two-mile sheen has also cropped up around the platform.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said helicopters, an airplane and small boats were sent to the area to assist in search and rescue efforts. Three commercial vessels are also assisting, and a team has been dispatched to handle any possible pollution.
The platform is a production platform, unlike the Deepwater Horizon rig, which was drilling an exploratory well in mile-deep water well to the east of Friday's reported explosion.
Anyone attempting to locate a family member who may have been a victim of this morning's incident can contact Black Elk Energy's hotline at (281) 779-8459.