JP Pritchard

Gulf Coast Rig Explodes; Four Hurt, Two Possibly Dead

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Coast Guard officials say they are investigating a fire at an oil drilling platform off the coast of Louisiana.

A total of 11 people were injured, four critically. Two workers remain missing.

The rig is owned by Black Elk Energy, which is based right here in Houston. We’ve reached out to the company but so far have not gotten a response.

The fire has been put out and right now there is an active search for the missing.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts tells WWL-TV that the platform is a shallow water platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It is near West Cote Blanche Bay, south of New Iberia on the south-central Louisiana coast.

A parish officials says the rig is not drilling at a deepwater site like the Macondo well that blew out in 2010. That blowout led to an explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

The incident serves as a reminder about the dangerous business of offshore drilling.  ABC’s Matt Gutman covered the BP oil spill two years ago. He compares the two incidents.

“At first glance the sight of that giant fireball and the pillar of smoke a thousand feet in the air was very reminiscent of the BP disaster two and a half years ago,” Gutman explained. “But this is a vastly different incident. This is a shallow water incident in a well that was not producing or pumping oil. There is absolutely no leak at this point.”

Stay with NEWS 92 FM for continuing coverage. As we get more information, we will pass it along to you.

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