‘Aggressive’ search continues in GoM

by on November 17, 2012 9:45 pm BST

The Houston-based company said in an update on its website that search and rescue efforts have continued “non-stop” since the production platform in West Delta Block 32 exploded and caught fire in about 56 feet of water on Friday morning.

“US Coast Guard vessels and aircraft, assisted by company personnel, have been systematically searching the area since yesterday morning,” the company said.

The “construction site incident and fire” occurred around 9:00 local time about 17 miles south-east of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

There were 22 people aboard the platform at the time of the blast and Black Elk said “an evacuation and rescue effort was started immediately”.

“Two individuals have yet to be accounted for and an aggressive search and rescue effort is underway,” the company said, adding that four people are still being treated in local hospitals,

Reports on Friday said the hospitalised victims were in critical condition with third-degree burns.

In total, nine workers were injured and 11 were safely evacuated. The fire was extinguished within an hour.

The platform was not in operation at the time of the blast and had been shut in since mid-August, Black Elk said.

On Saturday morning, Black Elk chief executive John Hoffman travelled by helicopter to the platform “in order to conduct a first-hand evaluation of the site”.

“According to visual reports from this morning, there is no visible sheen in the vicinity of the platform,” the company said.

“At this time, every effort is being made to locate the two missing workers,” it continued. “Our total focus is on the missing workers and the proper care and attention for the injured and their families.”