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. brad

    If we get rid of off shore drilling, then lets get rid of cars. Cars are far more dangerous than off shore drilling is. There are accidents on a daily basis where people die in most cities.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Obama

    Change, i can say change all i want but the rich will do as they please. This includes polluting our waters and enslaving our people.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. BobBarker


    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Diana

    Wow, does that mean all of its oil contents are being leaked into the Gulf? How much can the Gulf take! Stop offshore drilling people! I wonder what happened this time.... Human neglect and error most likely. This is getting to be ridiculous....

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. mike

    why would anyone want to be a republican? Greed, ignorance and fear are the only real reasons.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Hatred doesn't solve anything. Or should I say, "takes one to know one!"

      September 2, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Archie

    Drill baby drill.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. tony bean

    Just what we need... another tragedy

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Renee

    Again. Can the Gulf take another hit like the last one? Our thoughts and prayers are with the businesses and residents of the Gulf Coast area.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chad

    Its a very unfortunate event but I work in the oilfield in Saskatchewan, canada and we go to work every day aware of all the risks, that's why we don't make minimum wage doing it. There is environmental risks involved with onshore oil activity too. For as long as you and I keep driving our vehicles, flying in airplanes, buying bottled beverages there will be a demand for more drilling.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. SamJomes

    I guess that'll depend on whether or not they've been given a pass on their safety violations, huh?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. American

    Sarah Palin still wants to drill everywhere. She says these offshore oil disasters are somehow proof we should be drilling all over the wildlife preserves where it is "safer". What a retard.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. John Cruz

    How many accidents, how much more damage to our environment and our wildlife is it going to take for Obama to stop offshore drilling? I mean, really?

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • ATMoore

      Didnt Obama try to block alot of the off-shore drilling. Hmmmm maybe?

      September 2, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. me

    heres a grreat idea manticore!!!!lets all stay dependent on the middle east for oil!!! oh and by the way do you have any job openings for all the people that are going to be out of work???? thats what i thought!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin

    Anyone know how many people are killed on our highways EVERY DAY?

    How much oil is leaked from the casrs we drive into lakes and rivers EVERY DAY?

    So, anyone up for not driving? No, that's what I thought!

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Oilmygosh

    Republicans will say Obama did this on purpose.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
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