September 2nd, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Coast Guard: Platform on fire in Gulf; 13 workers rescued

[Updated at 9:36 p.m.] Earl has been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane but is still dangerous, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 p.m. Thursday forecast. 
 
As of 8 p.m., the center of Earl was about 160 miles (260 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 625 miles (1,005 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket. It was heading north at about 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (165 kph). 
 
"Even if the center of Earl remains offshore ... hurricane force winds are expected to occur in the Outer Banks overnight tonight," the center said Thursday.

[Updated at 2:14 p.m.] For continuing coverage of the incident involving a production platform on fire in the Gulf read the full story here.

[Updated at 2:08 p.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Bordelon tells CNN there is a sheen at the site of the production platform that measures approximately 1 mile by 100 feet. This information comes after Gov. Bobby Jindal who said there were reports of a mile-long sheen.
[Updated at 1:03 p.m.] Mariner Energy, owner of the production platform, said in a press release that no hydrocarbon spill has been reported after an initial flyover of the incident.

"Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident," the statement said. "The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate."

The company also said no injuries have been reported.

[Updated at 12:48 p.m.] David Reed, a paramedic on board a neighboring oil rig located 14 miles from the platform that exploded, told iReport he saw all thirteen workers rescued from the water.

“We were up here in the radio room and all of sudden we saw a whole bunch of smoke coming from the platform," Reed said. "Shortly after all the radios started lighting up like a Christmas tree. They called any helicopters in the area, any boats in the area to respond, they were saying there were people in the water. There were multiple people in the water.”

See Reed's iReport of what he witnessed

WWL: Coast Guard reporting production platform incident

WDSU: Production platform explodes in Gulf

iReport: Did you see the explosion? Share images

[Updated at 12:32 p.m.] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that the federal government has "assets ready" to respond to any environmental problems resulting from the explosion of an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana.

[Updated at 12:31 p.m.] All thirteen people aboard a production platform that exploded in the Gulf are accounted for and safely on a commercial vessel according to initial information, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

"We continue to gather information as we respond with full force, and have oil spill response assets ready for immediate deployment should we receive any reports of pollution," the statement said.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that 12 people from the production platform are in water immersion suits as they await rescue.

Colclough told CNN there are reports the production platform, which is for both oil and natural gas, is still on fire.

"We don't know what caused the rig to catch on fire," he told CNN, noting the incident is under investigation.

Asked about concerns regarding oil leaks or pollution, Colclough said "there are reports the rig was not actively producing any product, so we don't know if there's any risk of pollution."

Mariner Energy is a leading independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the Gulf of Mexico. About 85 percent of the company's production comes from offshore assets, with a growing share of that coming from deepwater developments.

The explosion comes nearly five months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people and causing oil to gush into
the Gulf of Mexico, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

[Updated at 11:43 a.m.] U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the production platform explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured.

Coast Guard Choppers are on the way to the site 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.

[Posted at 11:33 a.m.] An oil production platform has exploded 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana, with 12 people overboard and one missing, the Coast Guard said Thursday morning.

Rescue attempts are under way for at least 12 people, Coast Guard spokesman John Edwards told CNN. 13 people were on board the production platform total, Edwards said, noting 12 have been accounted for, but one person was missing.

The accident took place 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana on the Vermilion Oil production platform 380, which is owned by Houston-based Mariner Energy.

The Coast Guard has multiple helicopters, an airplane and several Coast Guard cutters en route. It's unknown if there are any injuries.

soundoff (1,154 Responses)
  1. RYAND

    Why Pray that will do nothing? lets address the actual situation here. Anyone who says to keep drilling offshore is an idiot. There man better energy sources to explore.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Terrorism?

    Is this a terrorist act? If so and we find out who the perps are, it's time to step on some rights, round them up and drop them over their respective homelands. Guilty or not.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Daughtry

    Thanks for lifting that stay Republicans. Doing your usual stellar job.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. HolyCarpola

    i guess its time to suit up and do another clean up

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. PARROT

    THERE MUST BE A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE DEMOCRATS....I BET THE REPUBLICANS ARE THE CULPRIT !!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. IDon

    Republicans are truly retarded

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. sirena

    lets use Palin to plug the hole!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. dennis

    another example of why we should be moving towards alternative energy sources...the oil industry's lack of implementing safety sends a strong message that the oil industry's primary motivation is money while environmental and human safety concerns are an afterthought. i hope the missing personnel is safe.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Marie

    OMG that is awful! You would think that, after the BP incident, that there would be more inspections and regulations on these rigs. What is going on?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. DrillBabyDrill

    VERY interesting timing. Straaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange. Appears that we may be hearing "I told ya so" from Obama. Let the media frenzy BEGIN!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Republican

    Republicans.... Drill baby Drill!.... Can any republicans like Sarah Palin get interviewed about this dissaster as well as the BP one... Do you guys remember.. she like Drilling.. as well as other republicans... Im an independant.. but now we are seeing why this is very dangerous and a serious issue for everyone...

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. David Anthony Kearns of Palm Bay Florida

    Ok, gee, no need to worry there's some sort of nefarious conspiracy afoot. Nah......no coincidence whatsoever

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Boomhauer

    "U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough tells CNN that all 13 workers involved in the rig explosion are accounted for, but one person is injured."
    "13 people were on board the rig total, Edwards said, noting 12 have been accounted for, but one person was missing..."

    Damnit CNN, is it all were accounted for or one missing???

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • sarah

      the post saying that all were accounted for is an update to the one saying one was missing. it was posted 10minutes later.

      September 2, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Maggie

    Tat-2...how ironic. We posted almost the same thing at the same time! Great minds...

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    It's Palestinian terrorists I tell ya

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
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