More than 20 people escaped the burning platform in a helicopter. Eleven of them have been medevac’d to various Louisiana hospitals.
New Orleans Coast Guard Commanding Officer Capt. Peter Gautier says they’re still trying to confirm exactly how many people were on the platform when the explosion happened.
“This is the challenge with this sort of situation. There are a number of different contractors from different companies that were on board that platform at the time of the incident. There was an evacuation by a commercial helicopter off of the helipad on the end of the platform that wasn’t impacted. So we’re still confirming the numbers. The initial count number that we got was that there were 28 people on board the platform at the time of the incident.”
At least two people are missing at sea. Coast Guard units are in search and rescue mode.
“The conditions are very good and we have a known point that we’re searching from, which is also a good thing. And then we have computer software that helps tell us what the best and most effective way of doing these searches are, so the aircraft and those boats will be conducting those searches just in and around that area looking for any individuals that might have fallen overboard.”
Gautier says Coast Guard crews noticed a sheen on the water in the area around the platform, but he adds this was not an active oil rig and there is no immediate environmental concern about the rig.