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. Skippy McSkipperson

    Maybe the dummies in congress will let us drill on land now!!

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

      Not all of congress... Just the ones that did all that sitting and disrespectful ranting during Obama's address. Remember: Republicans=Big business, less regulation and tax breaks for the wealthy. Democrats=Social and environmental responsibility, funding for education and tax breaks for the middle class.

      September 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brad

    I want to keep offshore drilling going because I want cheap gas prices. If you dont understand that then you dont undertsnad basic economics. until we find a cheaper solution, fossil fuels all the way.

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

    Lets hope the shut off valves work a little bit better this time around.

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

    It wasnt a moratorium on drilling, it was on exploration for new drills, it didnt affect the other 28,000 active oil wells in the gulf, idiots.

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

    Hopefully its not leaking oil

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

    Nah, don't need to regulate the industry they'll take care of it themselves especially after the bp disaster. Don't need a moratorium to run safety checks on other rigs before we move forward after all lightning doesn't strike twice.

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

    WHAT?!!! I'm starting to think drilling off shore is a BAD idea!! -smh- Praying for those involved. I'm sorry, but I'm starting to think Conspiracy Theory! And I'm not normally a Conspiracy Theory type of guy. We need to PRAY!!

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

    IS THERE A LEAK??????

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


    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. Katiemom5

    Isn't there any oil that is not underwater?? Just sayin

    September 2, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. I know! I know!

    Blame Bush!
    (Works every time!)

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. HACKEY

    obama dosnt care about white people, he keeps pacing tnt on these rigs and blowing them up.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. tony mccray

    drill baby drill

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. Eric

    I was hopeful for a second that this was a glitch on CNN's page when I saw the headiine. Unforunately its not, and it looks like we have another tragedy in the Gulf.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    I'm guessing the merger with Apache might be put on hold.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
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