11 Taken To Hospitals, 2 Missing After Explosion On Gulf Oil Rig - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

11 Taken To Hospitals, 2 Missing After Explosion On Gulf Oil Rig

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Pamela Carrie Kibodeaux / KATC Pamela Carrie Kibodeaux / KATC

Two people are missing after an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that may have been caused by contractors working there, according to the company that operates the rig.

About 26 crew members were on the platform at the time of the blast, and eleven were taken by helicopter to local area hospitals.

The U.S. Coast Guard is on the scene about 25 miles off Grand Isle, La., in the Gulf of Mexico.

The fire has been put out.

The CEO of Black Elk Energy says contractors from Grand Isle Shipyards apparently violated procedural policy while working on a line that connects to the oil tank. A torch, which should not have been used, ignited vapors that caused an explosion and subsequent fire and oil leak.

Black Elk Energy's CEP says he's praying that those two members were rescued by neighboring oil companies.

Captain Ed Cubanski, chief of the U.S. Coast Guard response, talked with reporters Friday about how much oil has leaked into the gulf.

"The environmental threat, as we know, there was 28 gallons that potentially were in that 3-inch line, 75 feet long, which would equate to approximately 28 gallons of product" Cubanski said. "As of right now, they're reporting an oil sheen in the area one half mile long by 200 yards."

Cubanski said a marine safety unit is on the platform in order to provide "re-flash protection."

"We received a report that the rig is structurally sound," Cubanski said. "We saw a picture of the rig. In this one corner, there is a lot of charring where a fire obviously took place. But I just saw the picture before I came down, and there were no flames."

Meanwhile, Coast Guard boats and helicopters are still searching for the missing crews.

Cubanski said, "Our primary concern right now is looking for the two people missing, coordinating with the oil spill response organization to contain the pollution, and then, obviously, the investigation of the cause of this incident."

Friday's explosion comes just a day after oil giant BP was ordered to pay a record fine in connection to the explosion and massive oil leak into the gulf in 2010.

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