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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, 

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A supply vessel moves near an oil rig damaged by an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La. Four injured workers were transported to a hospital and two are missing.

Gerald Herbert/AP

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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.

IN PICTURES: Big environmental disasters

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.

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