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Explosion near Vermilion Bay set an oil platform on fire

POSTED: Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 9:46am

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 4:44pm

The US Coast Guard confirmed that an offshore petroleum platform exploded and began burning in the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles off the Louisiana Coast. The explosion is about 200 miles west of the site where BP’s undersea well spilled after a rig explosion. It happened around 9 a.m. this morning.

Governor Jindal held a press conference at 12:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge to provide an update on the incident.
The platform is owned by Mariner Energy. Watchstanders at the Eighth Coast Guard District command center received a report from a pilot aboard a Bristow helicopter at about 10:00 a.m., stating that 13 people were in the water near an oil platform on fire. All 13 people were wearing immersion suits.

The 13 people in the water were picked up by the OSV Crystal Clear and taken to another platform. Coast Guard helicopters are being utilized to transport the rescued to Terrebonne General Hospital and other hospitals in the surrounding area. All of the workers have survived the incident.

This is an active production platform that is connected to seven different wells, but that it is not actually producing oil and gas. The company says that there’s no oil leaking into the Gulf at this time. However, officials say they cannot verify that information and initial reports indicate that some oil sheen has been seen on the water surface roughly a mile around the oil site.

We will have more information on NBC33 News at 5 p.m. and as this story develops.