Last night, off the Louisiana coast, an explosion occurred on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon at about 10pm. The explosion and subsequent fire left 11 workers missing and another seven hurt bad.
At the time of the explosion on the rig, there were 126 people working and all but 18 of those people escaped to safety after the explosion occurred. Rescuers are searching the waters around the Deepwater Horizon rig to try and find the missing people. This was according to Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer, Mike Oâ€™Berry, who went on to say, â€œItâ€™s burning pretty good and thereâ€™s no estimate on when the fire will be put out.â€
Of the seven workers that were critically injured, two were flown to a burn-trauma center in Mobile, Alabama and at least two more were taken to a New Orleans hospital for treatment.
Officials are hoping that the 11 missing workers are in a lifeboat or in a life raft, as they scour the Gulf of Mexico for any signs of the workers.
The Deepwater Horizon rig was drilling, but it wasnâ€™t in production, according to Greg Panagos, a spokesman for Transocean Ltd., in Houston. Transocean Ltd. is the company that owns the rig and it was under contract to BP PLC.
The Coast Guard will be working with the Minerals Management Service to investigate the explosion and to determine any possible causes. The Coast Guard will also have environmental teams standing by until the fire is out, to ensure they handle any environmental damage that may have occurred due to the explosion.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig is a massive structure out in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Transoceanâ€™s website, the rig is 396 feet long and 256 feet wide. The rig was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard, located in South Korea. The rig was built in 2001 and it is semi-submersible.
The rig can operate in water up to 8,000 feet deep and can drill about 5.5 miles. The rig is home to a crew up to 130 people. Crews will typically work at sea for two weeks before returning to shore.
Information in this article was reported by the Associated Press
Image courtesy of AP (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Lloyd)