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Apr 21, 2010 7:42 PM by Kate Mundy

Locals On Board Exploding Oil Rig

Helicopters and boats continue to search the Gulf of Mexico for any sign of 11 workers missing after an oil rig exploded Tuesday night. The Transocean Ltd rig "Deepwater Horizon" burst into flames about ten o'clock, 52 miles south of Venice, Louisiana.

One of the eleven missing is believed to be 57 year old Eunice native Blair Manuel. KATC talked with his father L.D. Manuel Wednesday afternoon. His son worked for MI, one of the service partners on board the Transocean. As of Wednesday night, families members said Manuel was still unaccounted for.

The blast on board the "Deepwater Horizon" sent a tower of fire into the sky and touched off a frantic search at sea. Transocean Vice President Adrian Rose said the company doesn't know what caused the blast. At a press conference in New Orleans on Wednesday, they said crews were performing routine work before the explosion and there were no signs of trouble. "We don't what caused the incident. Our efforts first concentrated on caring for the people and secondly securing the rig," said Rose.

The explosion left seventeen people injured, three critically. Local families of Weatherford employees started getting calls at midnight from the company saying, there's been an explosion. KATC has learned that Brandon Boullion, Lance John and Greg Meche from Rayne were among the 94 survivors.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard says they will continue to search for the missing using helicopters and boats. "We will continue to search and rescue until it's reasonable that we might not find them out there," said Rear Admiral Mary Landry.

The coast is searching an area that's 900 square miles, with four cutters, four aircraft and the help of 28 other vessels. Wednesday night, the platform was leaning three degrees and continued to burn.

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