At least 11 people are feared missing following an explosion and fire on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. At least seven others have been injured, but no deaths have been reported.
The oil platform, named Deepwater Horizon, is located 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, in an area known as the Mississippi Canyon. It is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd, and it is leased to BP Exploration & Production.
According to various media reports, 126 workers were stationed there. The explosion occurred around 10:00 p.m. local time last night, but it not clear what caused the blast. The fire is still burning.
The seven injured workers are listed in critical condition, with two suffering burns. According to a Fox 8 report, burn victims were being airlifted to a Baton Rouge hospital, while other injured people were being flown to Belle Chasse, then taken by ambulance to West Jefferson Hospital.
A representative for the U.S. Coast Guard told WWL First News that as of 3:00 a.m. this morning, 115 workers were accounted for. It was thought that everyone was evacuated after the blast, but the Coast Guard was trying to confirm reports that people were missing. Four Coast Guard boats and a plane are conducting a search. It is hoped the missing workers will be found in a life raft.
Fire boats continue to battle the blaze this morning. WWL TV reported that the rig was leaning badly, and that it may go over at some point.
According to the Associated Press, the Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service will work together to investigate possible causes of the accident. Coast Guard environmental teams are also on standby to assess any environmental damage once the fire is out.