Apr 21, 2010 4:56 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Rescuers are searching waters off Louisiana's coast today for 11 missing oil workers after an explosion and fire on an offshore drilling platform.
The Coast Guard says there were 126 people on the platform at the time of the explosion and most are believed to have escaped safely. Seven workers are reported to have been critically injured. Two were taken to a trauma center in Mobile, Ala., which has a burn unit, though there's no word on the nature of their injuries.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry says rescuers are hoping the missing workers escaped in a life raft. He says the rig is still burning and is now listing about 10 degrees. There's no estimate on when the fire will be extinguished. The rig's owner says it had been drilling but was not in production, and the cause of the blast is not yet known.
Coast Guard environmental teams are on standby, however, and will assess any environmental damage once the fire is out.