Emergency personnel are still searching for 11 missing workers from the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and fire on Tuesday night in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the 126 people were believed to be safe after an explosion occurred around 10 pm, leaving the offshore drilling platform listing approximately 10 degrees and still burning.
The cause of the explosion has not yet been released.
Seven workers were critical injured during the explosion and 11 are still missing after helicopters, ships and an airplane searched waters hoping to find a life boat, according to AP reports.
A lifeboat, however, had been spotted earlier, according to Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, via The Inquisitr.
“They spotted it earlier, they know there is people on it, but maybe with the sun coming up now, they’ll be able to locate that lifeboat and hopefully all the people will be accounted for,” said Nungesser.
The semisubmersible drilling rig, situated about 41 miles off shore and southeast of Venice, Louisiana, is 396 feet long and 256 feet wide. Built in 2001, the rig is designed to operate in up to 8,000 feet of water depths and currently works at the site known as Macondo prospect in 5,000 feet of water.
The rig was drilling but was not in production at the time of the explosion. The Coast Guard and the Minerals’ Management Service will be investigating the explosion and fire for possible causes. At present, the fire is still burning with no word on when it can be extinguished.
After the explosion, seven rig workers were airlifted to the Naval air station near New Orleans and then transported to hospitals. Two of the injured were taken to a burn unit at a trauma center in Mobile, Alabama.
“Three (of the injured) were met by ambulance at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, two were medevaced to West Jefferson hospital in New Orleans by air ambulance and two were flown to Mobile Trauma Centre in Mobile,” said the Coast Guard in a statement. “There are approximately 11 to 12 people who remain missing.”
There is no word, yet, on the extent of their injuries. Or any additional news on those still missing. No fatalities have been reported. But a spokeperson for Transocean said on their website that it still remained a possibility.
“As far as we know there have been no fatalities, but this could change,” Greg Panagos said.
Transocean’s Emergency and Family Response Teams, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and lease operater BP Exploration & Production, Inc are working to secure rig personnel and search for those missing after Tuesday’s Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.