7 injured, 1 unaccounted for following oil platform explosion in - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

7 injured, 1 unaccounted for following oil platform explosion in Lake Pontchartrain

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Oil rig explodes in Kenner / Courtesy: Roger Fernandez Oil rig explodes in Kenner / Courtesy: Roger Fernandez

The Coast Guard is coordinating search efforts for a missing man after an explosion on an oil platform in Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner Sunday evening.

Seven people were been rescued from the oil platform following the explosion. Authorities received calls regarding the explosion 7:18 p.m. 

Five of the seven people aboard the platform were rushed to the Trauma Center at University Medical Center with blast-type injuries and burns where they remain in critical condition, authorities say. The other two victims were transported to East Jefferson General Hospital and are in stable condition. 

A spokesperson for the Coast Guard says one of the platform workers reported eight people were aboard at the time of the explosion, and one person did not make it to shore. 

Following the initial report, Sector New Orleans launched a Coast Guard Station New Orleans 29-foot Response Boat-Small boatcrew, a Station New Orleans 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew, and a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter air crew. 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Jefferson County Parish, and St. Charles Parish also have marine units on scene. Bayou Gauche Fire Department and a good Samaritan vessel are on scene fighting the fire, which has been reduced substantially.

The name of the missing man is not being released at this time.

No fatalities have been reported.

An onlooker of the scene said he was sitting on his couch inside his home when he heard what he described as a loud explosion.

Kenner city officials said authorities on scene believe the explosion was caused by cleaning chemicals that ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform, according to The Advocate

Fire investigators say the oil field platform is used for the transfer of oil. 

Currently, crews are working to stop the oil flow if any while they wait for the platform to cool, allowing the fire to burn out.

The Director of the Causeway says the good news is that the oil platform is about a mile and a half away from shore, Lake Ponchartrain is shallow and waters are calm at this hour, omitting serious environmental damage. 

The director also says there are 5-7 structures in the area, one of which is an oil platform, and the others are gas structures. After every structure is accounted for, crews will be able to cut off the flow of material. Once that happens, environmental damage will stop, and the lake will cure itself. 

Investigators have not mentioned the company affiliated with the oil platform that ignited. 

Video courtesy of Roger Fernandez

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