Oil Rig Explodes Off Louisiana Coast


DEVELOPING: An offshore petroleum rig exploded and was burning Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard told Fox News Radio that all 13 crew members on the rig are alive and have been safely accounted for.

The rig, which is in about 2,500 feet of water, is owned by Mariner Energy of Houston and located 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.

The Department of Homeland Security said the platform was not producing oil or gas at the time of the explosion.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel said the blast was reported by a commercial helicopter company about 9:30 a.m. CDT on Thursday.

Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats are en route to the site.

Ranel said it hasn’t been determined whether the structure is a production platform or a drilling rig or whether workers were aboard. Ranel said smoke was reported but it is unclear whether the rig is still burning.

Authorities have not confirmed whether oil has spilled into the ocean.

About 206 million gallons of oil from an undersea well spilled into the Gulf after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

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