Louisiana Oil Rig Explosion Injures Leaves 1 Missing, 7 Injured
Photo courtesy of The Advocate
One person is missing and seven have been hospitalized after an oil and gas platform explosion in Lake Pontchartrain just north of Kenner, LA on Sunday night, Jefferson Parish officials said.
Kenner Police received calls about the explosion around 7:18 p.m. Kenner city officials said authorities on scene believe the explosion was caused by cleaning chemicals that ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform.
The Coast Guard reported that a fire aboard the structure, owned by Clovelly Oil Co., was out by midday and there were no signs of pollution visible from the air. A Coast Guard helicopter, along with Coast Guard vessels and boats from local agencies, continued looking for the missing worker.
Five workers in critical condition were rushed to University Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, and two others were taken to East Jefferson General Hospital. Michael Guillot, director of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services, said the victims suffered “blast-type injuries and burns.”
Two workers, according to McGregor, who were more stable at the time were transported to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to receive treatment for fire-related injuries.
A statement from Clovelly Oil said three oil wells near the platform were shut in at the time of the explosion and its one gas well was flowing but was successfully shut-in shortly after the explosion. Clovelly does not know if any oil was released into the lake.
The platform is a storage and accumulation point for oil and gas from a number of wells, company spokesman Tim O’Leary said.
“It’s basically an underwater storage tank. It takes oil and gas” from wells, he said. Once the tank is filled, the oil or gas is pumped into a barge and moved.
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- Written by Jill Fowler