On Friday, November 16, an oil rig operated by Black Elk Energy exploded off the coast of Louisiana. Early reports are stating that the fire and subsequent explosion were caused by workers who accidentally used a blow torch to cut through a pipe with oil inside. Following the explosion, it was stated that 11 workers had suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to a hospital; 4 of them were reported to be in critical condition.
Today, the search for two of the missing workers continues. The Coast Guard has been searching for more than 24 hours to help find these workers who jumped off the platform after the explosion. Currently, there is an 87-footer cutter looking through the water, while 2 helicopter crews and a fixed-wing aircraft crew are covering the skies.
The Coast Guard has since issued a press release which has stated that the searchers are covering 1,400 square miles around the explosion in an effort to find the workers. The president and CEO of Black Elk Energy has responded to the incident by stating that "We treat our contractors as part of the family, so when there's an incident, it hurts."
Following the incident, many believe that the nationwide debate regarding offshore worker safety will be reignited. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we strongly believe that offshore companies should put the safety of their workers above profits. Throughout the years, we have strongly advocated for the rights of victims and their families. For example, we represented 27 crewmembers of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. If you or someone that you love has been injured in an oil rig explosion, you should not hesitate to pick up the phone and call us today.
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