Louisiana Oil Platform Explodes; Search Continues for Missing Worker

By | October 16, 2017

The search continued for a worker missing from an oil production platform in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain that exploded and caught fire late Sunday, sending six others to hospital with injuries, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard rescue crews and a helicopter failed to locate the worker overnight, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Alexandria Preston. In addition, authorities on Monday were checking for any evidence of oil leaking from the facility, she said.

The platform is operated by Clovelly Oil Co., said Donald Mackenroth, a Clovelly vice president reached by phone late Sunday. The cause of the explosion and fire was not clear, he said.

Firefighters sought to extinguish the blame, Preston said. Names of the missing or injured were not available.

There were eight people on the oil platform at the time, she said; one was uninjured. The cause of the explosion and fire has not been determined, she said.

Police were notified of a loud explosion about 7:18 p.m. local time by residents, and soon after received a call from the platform that a boat carrying injured was on its way to shore, said Kenner, Louisiana, police Lieutenant Brian McGregor.

Some of the workers suffered severe burns from the fire, he added. Other details were not immediately available.

East Jefferson General Hospital, which received some of the injured, declined to comment on the number of treated or on the type or extent of their injuries.

A WVUE Fox 8 television video posted on Facebook showed an industrial structure ablaze with smoke as lights flashed nearby.

Clovelly is the only oil company operating in Lake Pontchartrain, according to its former president, Harald Werner. It has two or three active oil and gas wells at the site, he said.

(Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru, India; Ian Simpson in Washington and Gary McWilliams in Houston. Editing by Peter Cooney, Michael Perry and Jacqueline Wong)

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