Five months after BP’s Deepwater Horizon tragedy, an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has exploded. Officials say the U.S. Coast Guard was alerted to the explosion at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
A Coast Guard commander told Fox News all workers from the platform are accounted for.
“Right now, we were told that there were 13 people on board the rig and there are 13 people in the water. They were able to don their–what we call ‘Gumby suits’–life preservers, and we are actively pulling them out of the water.”
Later reports indicated one of the employees was injured, but all thirteen were successfully rescued.
Though many news outlets initially reported the explosion occurred on a “rig,” another Coast Guard official clarifies to MSNBC: “It’s not a rig, it’s not like a Deepwater Horizon. It’s a platform. It does not do any drilling or anything like that and, as far as I know, it is still on fire.”
ABC News provides more information about the platform itself, which is not located in deep water: “The rig platform was fixed in 340 feet of water… Workers have told authorities that they had started emergency shutdown procedures before evacuating. The platform does not have a standard blow-out preventer.”
The Times-Picayune reports the incident does not appear to be a repeat of the BP Deepwater Horizon fiasco–but oil companies are still feeling the heat: “With all the unwanted attention just starting to wane, members of industry groups were staggered by the latest accident today, even though it was on a much smaller scale and appears to have nothing to do with the deepwater drilling dangers that surrounded the BP incident.”
Finally, a reporter for CNN asks the question on everyone’s mind: Reporter: “Are we aware of any leak from this rig?”
Coast Guard: “There are reports that the rig was not active producing any product, so we do not know if there is any additional concerns of pollution, even though it was not producing product.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the government is ready to respond should any pollutants leak into the water.
Writer: Tracy Pfeiffer
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