By Mark Memmott

"At least 11 people are missing and seven injured after an explosion and fire at an oil drilling platform off the coast of Louisiana," the Associated Press reports. "Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry says the explosion happened around 10 p.m. (local time) Tuesday, 52 miles southeast of Venice, La., while 126 workers were aboard. The rig was still burning Wednesday morning."

According to The Wall Street Journal, the drilling rig is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd., is on contract to Britain's BP PLC, and there were 126 crew members there when the accident occurred. Most have been safely evacuated, the Journal says.

WWL-TV in New Orleans says the fire was still burning as of 6 a.m. ET. It adds that:

"Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said that as of 5:30 a.m., 15 people that were aboard the rig were still missing, but that there had been reports of a lifeboat that was spotted at some point following the incident and a search was continuing to find it.
" 'The are 11 to 15 people that are missing, we are hoping, are on that they are on the lifeboat that is missing,' he said."

categories: Accidents and Disasters

7:45 - April 21, 2010