Eleven rig workers still missing
NEW ORLEANS - The rig that exploded Tuesday night about 50 miles to the southeast of Venice has sunk with eleven people still missing and the outlook for their safe recovery decreasing by the hour. The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd. and under contract with British Petroleum, had been burning since the blast and at one point the heat from the rig made rescue efforts impossible. Several of the workers are residents of Acadia Parish but as of press time none of them has been reported among the missing.
The search for any survivors continued Thursday, however, it was reported that family members of the missing have been told that the likelihood of finding any more survivors is unlikely. There were 126 workers on the rig at the time of the accident. Aside from the 11 missing workers, 98 were safely brought to shore with the rest having to be treated for injuries.
It was estimated that the rig was spilling 13,000 gallons of oil an hour into the Gulf yesterday, however, virtually all of it was burning off. Now that the rig has sunk and the fire is out, crews are trying to contain the oil which may still be spilling into the Gulf.
Also today, an attorney reported that one of the life capsules that crews use to escape rigs was found and was being towed to Port Fourchon, though this could not immediately be confirmed by the Coast Guard. The attorney declined to say whether there was anyone inside the capsule.
The view of the large plume of black smoke that appeared after the rig sunk was in stark contrast to the out of control blaze that burned for over 24 hours following the explosion.
Earlier Thursday, in a much less grim scene, about 100 of the workers who were rescued were reunited with their families in New Orleans after being checked by physicians.
“They’re assuming that all the men who were on the platform are probably dead,” said Carolyn Kemp whose grandson Ryan Kemp was among the missing. “That’s the last we’ve heard.”
In other news, it didn’t take long for the fist of what are sure to be several lawsuits against the companies involved was filed by a Mississippi family who are related to one of the missing. The suit claims negligence on the part of the companies.