Oil platform explodes in Gulf of Mexico; 9 injured, 2 missing

Posted at 11:50 AM, Nov 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-16 14:13:24-05

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — An oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire after an explosion Friday, sending at least nine people to hospitals and leaving two missing, authorities said.

The platform, which is for production and not drilling, is roughly 20 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Four of injured are in critical condition at West Jefferson Medical Center in Louisiana, spokeswoman Taslin Alfonzo said. They are expected to be transferred to the Baton Rouge General Burn Center.

Meanwhile, rescue airplanes and helicopters scoured the region in search of survivors, and authorities say a sheen could be seen atop the water. The fire has been extinguished, according to a spokesman for Black Elk Energy, the Houston-based firm in charge of the platform.

The incident comes a day after the Justice Department announced that oil company BP would plead guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-based oil giant has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in government penalties.

CNN’s Marylynn Ryan contributed to this report.

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