The Coast Guard is investigating a fire on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the AP reports.KHOU-TV initally reported that two people are dead and two people are missing after an explosion at the platform. Four others have been injured and airlifted to receive medical attention at West Jefferson Hospital.
The station is also reporting the the rig is no longer on fire. It is around 20 miles south of Grand Isle.
The rig is owned by Black Elk Energy, a relatively new, Houston-based company. The company was founded 5 years ago by John Hoffman, a former BP executive.
The company says it “has people on the way to gulf facility.” 20-eight people were thought to have been onboard at the time of the mishap.
A spokesperson for Black Elk told KHOU-TV that preliminary reports suggested workers were doing maintenance on the platform and cut into a pipe that contained oil. This appears to have caused a fire or explosion. The spokesperson also said that the first on the scene were fishing ships who acted as good samaritans and helped those on the rig escape.
The AP is also reporting that it is not a deepwater site like the Macondo well that blew in 2010 and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Black Elk have also said the rig was not an oil producing platform at present.
Black Elk says there is an oil sheen on the water but this appears to be due to the oil in the pipe cut by the workers.
UPDATE: A 12pm CT Coast Guard press conference has said that they have not had any confirmation of deaths, but 11 people were medevaced to local hospitals, and 2 people are still missing. 28 gallons of product could have been released from the pipe, the Coast Guard believe.
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