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1 Missing After LA Oil Rig Explosion   10/16 06:19

   Rescuers were searching for one person after an oil rig exploded on Lake 
Pontchartrain in Louisiana, injuring seven others.

   KENNER, La. (AP) -- Rescuers were searching for one person after an oil rig 
exploded on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, injuring seven others.

   Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor said Sunday evening 
that rescue boats were being sent and officials with the Jefferson Parish 
Sheriff's Office were assisting, The Times-Picayune reported .

   There were "a lot of injuries," many of them serious, with at least seven 
confirmed and more expected, McGregor said.

   Five of the injured were taken to University Medical Center with "blast type 
injuries and burns" and are in critical condition, said Mike Guillot, director 
of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services. The other two are in stable 
condition at East Jefferson General Hospital. Search and rescue efforts were 
continuing as of Sunday night. No deaths were immediately reported.

   Reports came into the Emergency Operations center around 7:15 p.m. of fire 
and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain, Jefferson Parish spokesman Antwan 
Harris said in a news release Sunday night.

   "Several people have been rescued from the active fire on the rig," Harris 
said.

   "Authorities on the scene report that cleaning chemicals ignited on the 
surface of the oil rig platform," the City of Kenner Government posted on its 
Facebook page Sunday evening.

   Clovelly Oil Co. owns the platform that is in production, said Taylor 
Darden, a lawyer for the company who is listed as its registered agent with the 
Louisiana Secretary of State.

   The platform, located in Jefferson Parish, is used for the transfer of oil, 
said Chief David Tibbets of the East Bank Consolidated Fire Department. He said 
the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn 
off safely.

   Authorities acknowledged there was a possibility that the fire meant oil 
could be leaking into the lake, but noted that Jefferson Parish drinking water 
will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River.

   Social media users reported hearing a loud noise that even rattled some 
homes.

   Andrew Love, 32, told the newspaper he was inside his house about 10 blocks 
away when he heard the explosion. "My house actually shook," he said. "At first 
I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening."

   Flames could be seen from the area and the air smelled of burning rubber, 
according to the newspaper.

   First responders from St. Charles Parish, Jefferson Parish, Kenner, the U.S. 
Coast Guard, East Jefferson General Hospital EMS and Louisiana Wildlife and 
Fisheries were working on the explosion, Harris said.

   The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation as well as the 
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

   Lake Pontchartrain is north of New Orleans.


(KA)

 
 
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