Coast Guard ends search for rig workers

The Associated Press /


NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard on Saturday evening called off its search for two workers missing after an explosion and fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico a day earlier. Four others workers were badly burned in the blaze, which evoked memories of the deadly 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft had been searching a 1,400-square-mile area around the platform by air, while cutters and boat crews searched the sea, over a 32-hour period.

“The search is suspended pending further developments,” the Coast Guard said in a news release Saturday night. A spokesman had no additional comment on the decision.

The blaze erupted Friday morning while workers were using a torch to cut an oil line on a platform owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy about 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.

Four workers were severely burned, though Black Elk Energy spokeswoman Leslie Hoffman said their burns were not as extensive as initially feared. The four, being treated in a burn unit, are from the Philippines. It’s unclear whether the missing men worked for a contractor.