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. Robert Rasband

    Terrorism....period. Come one in the media ever spent any time really looking at the possibility of the April 20 BP disaster as being caused by terrorism...maybe even domestic terrorism. Do we dare mention the possibility? Doesn't that make us less secure, admitting we are not in control? That our own government cannot protect us? Another explosion in the gulf? Come on....think about. Do you really think this is a coincidence?

    September 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brian

    Why do I get the feeling this happens quiet a bit but it is news now because of the BP leak?

    September 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jdoggers

    Thanks again george bush for properly inspecting all the oil rigs during your administration. Now we can be sure that they won't start all exploding. Oh and thanks for giving them huge tax breaks too. What a genius!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SmithSmash

    Now I know why Obama will only be serving one term...

    Thank God no one was killed.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TONG


    September 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike Scarborough

    Drill baby drill, spill baby spill, kill baby kill. Which reminds me; I need to go fill up my Camry.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ulukay

    yeah. keep driving those moron SUVs. you deserve it!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BK Beach 4X4

    Thanks once again to Louisiana politicians who put greed and oil lease right holders rights above the citizens of Louisiana, the wildlife and ecology of the Gulf of Mexico they share with the sister GOM states. You guys have been buttering the oil companies bread since the 1940s. Sleep with the Devil get your sheets burnt.

    The science of oil rigs is SAFE. It is only when the back pocket payments allow safety measures to be skipped to save time and money that we have these events. Beside the businesses, citizens, wildlife, and environmental impact those laxed Fed and State inspections will also take a toll on the oil industry and the millions of people who make an honest living from their hard work.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Detective Thorn

    It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding us like cattle for food. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!

    September 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    Yeah Robert, terroism, because the best way to kill and get the bang for your buck is taking out a few people on a rig.....get a clue.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Rasband

      It's not about killing a few people. It's about tearing down our economy to a point of collapse.

      September 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RigPig

    For all of you who don't want us to drill in your back yard I say "more power to you" and may you freeze in the dark.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edison Carter

      My backyard is in the city. Why do you want to drill there?

      September 2, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Dear CNN

    I think a bigger news story would be the sighting of smart competent leadership working on an oil rig in the gulf...

    September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Calvin WC

    Obama wants to hold off until the Oil Industry gets their act together, Oil Industry and Gulf States govenors want to keep drilling and have taxpayers pickup the tab when things go wrong...yet again something as gone wrong

    September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. oda155

    So…what’s that you were about drilling in the gulf being safe… Gov. Jindal… Gov. Bobby Jindal?

    September 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ben

    When is enough, enough? How much longer are we gonna worship "king oil" instead of working on ways to not need it @ all? OHHH but wait! That might hurt profit margins!!! This country is going straight to hell in a hand basket, and Obama I'm sure will close the door behind us.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
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