Coast Guard searches for missing workers after oil platform fire
Two oil workers remain lost at sea a day after a torch being used to cut an oil pipe ignited a blaze on a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials said no oil was leaking from the charred platform,
Two oil workers remained lost at sea Saturday, a day after a torch being used to cut an oil pipe ignited a blaze that severely burned four others workers on a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Officials said no oil was leaking from the charred platform, a relief for Gulf Coast residents still weary two years after the BP oil spill illustrated the risk offshore drilling poses to the region's ecosystem and economy.
The four workers' burns were not as extensive as initially reported, said Leslie Hoffman, a spokeswoman for Black Elk Energy, which owned the platform. Their conditions Saturday were stable but critical, she said.
Coast Guard officials said in a news release Saturday that helicopters were searching for the missing workers from the air, while a cutter searched the sea.
The images Friday of black smoke billowing from a burning structure in the sea were eerily similar to the Deepwater Horizon blaze that killed 11 workers and led to an oil spill that took months to bring under control. The fire came a day after BP PLC agreed to plead guilty to a raft of charges in the 2010 spill and pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties.