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Explosion in Gulf Coast Results in Death of Two Workers

November 27, 2012

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Earlier this month there was a fire on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico owned by Black Elk Energy Co. While workers were cutting into a line on the platform, sparks hit a storage tank resulting in a large explosion. The platform was not operating during this event, but merely undergoing maintenance. Aboard the platform were over 20 workers, at least half employed by Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. The explosion occurred about 20 miles offshore Grand Isle, a barrier island at the far southern tip of Louisiana. This island was also deeply affected by the August 2012 explosion resulting in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Immediately following the accident, at least four individuals were in critical but stable condition, primarily suffering from second and third degree burns. A “command center” was activated by the Coast Guard to investigate consisting of two helicopter teams and two small boat stations. Emergency crews were searching a 14,000 square-mile area for more than 32 hours to locate two missing workers, but suspended searches a few days later. However, the two bodies were identified as those of the missing Filipino workers, confirmed by the Filipino Embassy. The fatality toll from the November 16 event is so far up to two.

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