Search ongoing for missing worker after gas platform explosion

17 October, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Oil rig explodes in Kenner  Courtesy Roger Fernandez

"We believe there's still one unaccounted for, although we're dealing with subcontractors and we're trying to get names of everybody to make sure", Lopinto said.

The Clovelly Oil Co. platform exploded Sunday night while maintenance was being done on the structure, sending a fireball high into the night sky, authorities and company officials said. He says three Clovelly employees and four other contract workers are in hospitals.

Sheriff Joe Lopinto of Jefferson Parish said that the search of Lake Pontchartrain would continue for "as long as it takes".

The U.S. Coast Guard and other authorities were investigating the cause of the explosion, which was first was reported around 7:15 p.m. Sunday.

A fourth well, for natural gas, also feeds the platform, O'Leary said.

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It's a brackish tidal basin that is fed both by the Gulf of Mexico and by fresh water from rivers and streams in 16 Louisiana parishes and four MS counties.

Lake Pontchartrain is north of New Orleans.

The search has been complicated by 4 to 5 foot (1.2 to 1.5 meters) seas and stiff winds, Lopinto said. She said the helicopter crew also would look to spot any sign of pollution on Lake Pontchartrain, if there is any. A local police department spokesman said there were "lots of injuries", with at least seven people hurt and five sustaining "blast-type injuries and burns" that landed them in critical condition at nearby hospitals.

An explosion hit an oil platform on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana Sunday night, injuring seven people and possibly leaving one person unaccounted for, according to Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.

Jefferson Parish officials say there were cleaning chemicals aboard the platform but do not know the exact cause of the fire at this time. He said the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.

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