Oil Worker Found Dead At Gulf Fire Site
November 19, 2012 1:34 AM EST
One of the workers missing from Friday's oil platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico was confirmed dead when his body was recovered on Saturday afternoon, the CEO of Black Elk Energy said.
John Hoffman, head of the Houston-based company, said in an email that at 5:25 p.m., a diving vessel recovered the body and that the search for the second missing worker continued, KHOU-TV in Houston reported.
Earlier Saturday, an official with Regional Burn Center at Baton Rouge (La.) General said two workers remained in critical condition and two others were in serious but stable condition after sustaining serious burns from the fire on the oil platform owned by Black Elk Energy.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families," Hoffman said Saturday evening.
A hospital official at Baton Rouge General said that the four workers were from the Philippines, which has made contacting their families difficult.
Hospital officials would not elaborate on the extent of the workers’ burn injuries, but said that the next 48 to 72 hours are critical to their survival.
A total of 11 workers were air-lifted to Louisiana to be treated for injuries. The remaining seven were released after being treated by paramedics near the shore of Grand Isle, La.
Hoffman said the body was found close to the leg of the platform, near where the explosion occurred, in about 30 feet of water, the Associated Press reported. He said the missing men were employees of oilfield contractor Grand Isle Shipyard.
The news came shortly after the Coast Guard suspended a 32-hour-long search for the two missing workers that covered 1,400 square miles (3626 sq. kilometers) near the oil platform, located about 20 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Grand Isle.
"We have saturated the search area several times — the 1400-square-foot area," Vega said. "We saw no signs of life. We have suspended the search... pending further development. If we receive any credible information that there are signs of life, we can resume the search at any time."
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said the Guard's search was ended early Saturday evening. Helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft had been searching by air, while cutters and boat crews searched the sea.
The blaze erupted Friday morning while workers were using a torch to cut an oil line on the platform, authorities said.
Black Elk said the cause of the fire and explosion is unknown.
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