New Orleans, LAAn oil rig exploded this morning in the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 80 miles off the Louisiana coast in Vermillion Bay. All 13 people on board the rig were rescued from the water by a commercial vessel. The latest reports indicate that one of the rig workers was hospitalized with injuries. It is not currently known whether the rig is leaking oil.
The explosion was reported by a commercial helicopter flying over the rig early Thursday morning. The cause of the explosion is not known.
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The US Coast Guard is continuing to gather information on the incident, with seven Coast Guard helicopters, two airplanes and three cutters at the scene. "We don't know what caused the rig to catch on fire," US Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough told CNN. When asked whether the rig was leaking oil or any kind of environmental pollution, he told CNN, "There are reports the rig was not actively producing any product, so we don't know if there's any risk of pollution." Some reports indicate that the rig is still burning.
The Department of Homeland Security said that the platform sat in roughly 2,500 feet of water, and about 200 miles west of BP's blown-out Macondo well
, the site of their Deepwater Horizon rig. The platform is owned by Mariner Energy, based in Houston, TX. Mariner Energy is involved in oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.
The incident is under investigation.