2 People Missing After Gulf Oil Platform Explosion

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?searchterm=gulf+of+mexico&search_group=&lang=en&search_source=search_form#id=57442510&src=fda66a33e37d323bac001431a4d28c1c-1-0">Bruce Rolff</a>/Shutterstock


A day after the Department of Justice and BP reached a settlement on criminal charges related to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, another rig caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico.

An oil platform owned by Black Elk Energy exploded and caught fire 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La. on Friday morning. Two people are still missing, and at least four are in critical condition. The Associated Press reports:

The fire had since been extinguished, Coast Guard spokesman Drake Fore said. He said Coast Guard aircraft and boats were searching for two missing people. Nobody was believed killed in the fire, but [Coast Guard Capt. Ed] Cubanski said 11 people were flown from the platform to area hospitals or for treatment on shore by emergency medical workers.

Taslin Alfonzo, spokeswoman for West Jefferson Medical Center in suburban New Orleans, said four injured workers were brought to the hospital in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns over much of their bodies.

According to the Coast Guard, an oil sheen half a mile long could be seen extending from the platform, but they did not think it was an uncontrolled leak, as the platform was not currently producing oil. Here’s video of the Coast Guard press conference from earlier today:

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.