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Crews search for missing oil platform worker from Texas, others - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Update: Crews suspend search for missing oil platform worker from Texas

Posted: Updated:
Kenner Oil platform explosion / The Advocate Kenner Oil platform explosion / The Advocate

The Coast Guard suspended the search for the man who was missing after an explosion on an oil platform in Lake Pontchartrain.

After exhausting their resources, officials called off the search for Timothy Morrison at 7:15 p.m.

A Coast Guard commander says, "The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one. We send our thoughts and prayers to the Morrison family and all those affected by this incident."

The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the area for any potential pollution, as the investigation into the cause of the explosion continues.

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Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Coast Guard say they are currently conducting a search to locate one missing person following an explosion and fire on a Lake Pontchartrain oil platform Sunday evening. 

According to an earlier press conference, the missing oil platform worker has been identified as 44-year-old Timothy Morrison of Katy, Texas. 

Below are the other victims who have been identified:

55-year-old Alvin Kembrel of Belle Chase, LA and 45-year-old Lawrence Dufrene of Morrero were initially transported to University Hospital where they were stabilized before being sent to the Regional Burn Center at Baton Rouge General due to the severity of their injuries. 62-year-old James Bordelon of Laplace was transported to University Hospital and is recovering following surgery. 27-year-old Davin Billiot and 52-year-old Brent Neil both of Houma, along with 52-year-old Paul Pfister from Mandeville, and 23-year-old Cody Boudreaux of Chauvin have all been treated and released today.

Deputies say the owner of the platform has been identified as Clovelly Oil Company, LLC out of New Orleans, Louisiana.

According to a press release, Hydra Steam Generator, Inc., a Houston, Texas subcontractor working on the platform, was hired to perform a cleaning measure on the platform's pipes. At some time during this process, for reasons unknown at this time, an explosion occurred which resulted in a large fire on the top tier of the platform.

An investigation into what caused the explosion and fire is currently underway.

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From 4:00 P.M.: Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto held a press conference this afternoon to give updates on the explosion that happened in Lake Ponchartrain last night. 

Seven men were injured, three critically, and one is still missing, Lopinto said. 

The structure involved is a storage facility that holds both gas and oil, Lopinto said. It was gas that was burning last night, not oil, he said. 

Four of the seven injured workers have been discharged from the hospital. The three remaining in hospital are in critical condition, Lopinto said. The missing man, the only one identified, is 44-year-old Timothy Morrison of Katy, Texas, he said. 

Lopinto said the search is still a search and rescue. 

"We're still out there," he said. "I don't think that will change to recovery. We will be out there as long as we can."

Lopinto said he had spoken with Morrison's wife and family today. 

As far as the explosion goes, Lopinto said a lot of people may be guessing, but nobody can say what caused it yet. 

"We have no idea what caused it. Anybody who makes a guess, that is pure speculation at this point in time," he said. 

During the 4 p.m. press conference, Lopinto said investigators have spoken with the workers who are able to communicate and are gathering information about the incident "as we speak." High winds on the lake are hampering investigators' efforts to board the structure, he said. 

"It's a production rig," Lopinto said of the structure. "It's fed by several different drilling areas, and it's a storage facility for oil and gas. The gas is what was burning last night."

To read our previous story about the explosion, click here

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