Oil Rig Worker Dies of Wounds from Black Elk Explosion

Another worker that was aboard the Black Elk Energy rig the day of its terrible explosion passed away on Friday, November 23rd of his injuries. The 49-year-old worker was named Avelino Tajonera and was a welder from the Philippines. The middle-aged man was aboard the rig when it burst into flames on November 16th due to a lack of safety precautions by the staff and workers. Employees were welding a pipe on the deck of a West Delta Block 32 platform when the rig was engulfed in a sudden explosion. The platform was located about 17 miles south for Grand Isle, Louisiana, and witnesses on the shore say that they could see a plume of smoke rising off of the distant rig. The accident was reminiscent of the terrible Deepwater Horizon disaster which killed 11 people back in 2010 and began one of the worst oil spills in America’s history.

The accident left one man dead and another missing. Mr. Tajonera was one of the victims that were rushed to a New Orleans hospital in order to receive treatment. After the horrible explosion, Black Elk Energy took immediate action to improve safety on their offshore platforms. While new precautions and safety measures will be implemented in the future, it does not change the fact that men lost their lives because of the company’s prior negligence. Mr. Tajonera died shortly after his wife and three children arrived in New Orleans from Manila to see their injured loved one. The worker was severely burned while on the rig and was not able to recover from these painful wounds. He was the second man to die as a result of the explosion thus far.

Offshore workers like Mr. Tajonera are at risk to dangerous and painful accidents every single year. Men who work on oil rigs are often said to have the most dangerous job in America. Time says that the risks on these oil rigs are unavoidable. The men normally take 12-hour shifts on the rigs and are surrounded by highly combustible materials. As well, there are typically cranes on this oil rigs which swing heavy materials right above the worker’s heads. As if that wasn’t dangerous enough, the workers are often at least 20 miles away from the coast, far from rescue teams that could come to their aid. While the Coast Guard is prepared to respond to oil rig explosions, there are times that they are too late to save the men aboard.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that about 120 people were killed in the oil and gas industry in the year 2008. 21 of those deaths were aboard oil rigs out in the ocean. The Minerals Management Service, which oversees all offshore drilling operations, says that there were 39 fires or explosions within just the first five months of the year 2009. This is because these combustible materials can ignite with one misplaced item, sending an entire rig up in flames. If you have been injured in an oil rig explosion like the recent Black Elk energy disaster, then you need Arnold & Itkin to help.

These personal injury attorneys were deeply involved in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon case and represented 27 of the victims in the incident. If you are a victim of the recent Black Elk Energy disaster or any other oil rig or offshore platform injury, then hire an attorney that is knowledgeable in this area of personal injury law. Don’t hire an attorney with a broad but shallow knowledge of personal injury when you can hire an attorney that has such an in-depth understanding of maritime personal injury. Talk to us today for more information!


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