One body found near damaged oil rig in Gulf of Mexico
WASHINGTON — Divers hired by the owner of an oil rig that suffered an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico found one body, the Coast Guard said.
Two workers have been missing since the accident Friday, but Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega would not say if the body found is that of one of those two people.
It was located by divers inspecting the structure of the rig, located about 20 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
The US Coast Guard had suspended its search earlier Saturday for the two missing workers. Vega said it remains suspended, pending signs they might still be alive.
Coast Guard crews had scoured a 1,400 square-mile area for more than 32 hours using patrol boats, helicopters, and fixed wing aircraft.
The blast on the rig in the Gulf of Mexico Friday injured 11 people, but did not cause a major spill, the Coast Guard said.
There were 22 people on board when the blast rocked the rig operated by Houston-based Black Elk Energy shortly before 9 am (1500 GMT).
Black Elk Energy officials could not immediately be reached for comment after the body was found.
The blaze began during maintenance work when the crew was cutting through a pipe.
The accident occurred one day after oil giant BP agreed to pay a record $4.5 billion in US fines for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The company also pleaded guilty to 14 counts including felony manslaughter in the deaths of 11 workers.
That deadly blast aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig unleashed the biggest marine oil spill in the industry’s history and the worst environmental disaster ever to strike the United States.