Gulf Coast Oil Rig Fire Friday Kills Two

An explosion has rocked a gulf coast oil rig, killing two people and seriously injuring several others. Two people were listed as missing and it was unknown if any petroleum was leaking into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the blast.

Reuters reports that production rig is located 17 miles offshore Grand Isle, Louisiana. The explosion happened Friday near midday.

Compiling news from various sources, MSN reports that a fire caused by the explosion has been put out, and that several vessels were sent to the rig. Some reports claim the four people airlifted to a suburban area hospital were in critical condition but Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally did not confirm, saying they were not aware of the patients’ conditions.

In the immediate aftermath of the blast, there were conflicting reports on how many people were aboard the platform when the explosion occurred. One report claimed there were at least six people on board, with two killed, two missing and four injured.

The cause of the blast is not yet known. Unlike the Deepwater Horizon exploratory drilling rig that burned and subsequently leaked tons of oil into the gulf, the rig that suffered an explosion Friday was a production platform. Also, the oil rig in question Friday was a shallow water platform whereas Deepwater Horizon, as the name implied, The platform, owned by Houston-based Black Elk, produced both oil and natural gas.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest in US history. The explosion killed 11 people and the resulting uncontrolled well spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.