One Person Missing, Seven Injured After Rig Explodes on Lake Pontchartrain

Leigh Mccormick
October 17, 2017

U.S. Coast Guard crews hoped to get a helicopter into the air as dawn broke Monday in their ongoing search for a man missing after an oil and gas platform explosion on a lake near New Orleans.

On Sunday evening, October 15, in the USA state of Louisiana, an explosion occurred on an oil drilling platform in lake Pontchartrain.

Jefferson Parish officials tell Eyewitness News that the workers were cleaning chemicals aboard the platform but the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said the cause remained under investigation. He said they were doing maintenance work when the fire started, but he said he did not know the precise nature of their duties.

The Coast Guard New Orleans Division along with the Kenner Police Department and several other local agencies are responding to a fire on a platform in Lake Pontchartrain in the Kenner area.

Five of the injured were hospitalized with "blast-type injuries and burns", said Mike Guillot, director of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services.

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Authorities have not released the name of the missing worker, but said they have contacted the person's family. Authorities say there has been no reports of building damage on shore.

The platform is a storage and accumulation point for oil and gas from a number of wells, company spokesman Tim O'Leary said. Once the tank is filled, the oil or gas is pumped into a barge and moved.

The platform is used to transfer and store oil from nearby wells, and is not a wellhead itself, officials said.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality was on scene conducting water quality testing; no oil sheen was seen on the waters in preliminary tests.

No other rigs on the lake were at risk of igniting, according to authorities.

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