GoM platform fire: Body of one missing worker found, Coast Guard suspends search

A body believed to be one of the two missing workers from an oil production platform that caught fire at West Delta 32 in the Gulf of Mexico about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana, on Friday morning was recovered by divers Saturday night. The victim’s identity had not been released as of Sunday afternoon, pending notification of his family.

All 22 workers aboard the platform were from the Philippines and were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard, which was performing maintenance work on the production platform contracted to Houston-based Black Elk Energy Offshore LLC, a privately-held independent oil and gas company with interest in more than 850 wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform’s seven wells were all shut-in at the time of the incident.

The US Coast Guard suspended its search for the remaining worker about 5:25 pm on Saturday.

Two of the 11 workers injured in the explosion remained in critical condition on Sunday. One is in serious condition, and one had his condition upgraded to fair. The remaining workers had less extensive injuries and have been treated and released from area hospitals.

In a statement released Saturday, Black Elk president and CEO John Hoffman said, “This is a heartbreaking event. Our total focus at this moment is to find the missing workers and care for the injured.”

The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation, but is believed to have happened when a welder accidentally cut into a three-inch line containing oil vapors.

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