Oil rig blast on Louisiana lake leaves man missing, 7 people hurt

Oil rig explodes in Kenner  Courtesy Roger Fernandez

Oil rig explodes in Kenner Courtesy Roger Fernandez

At a Monday morning news conference, Jefferson Parrish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said the fire was still burning.

An explosion hit an oil platform on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana Sunday night, injuring seven people and possibly leaving one person unaccounted for.

The Coast Guard New Orleans Division along with the Kenner Police Department and several other local agencies are responding to a fire on a platform in Lake Pontchartrain in the Kenner area. The explosion rattled homes more than a mile away with a sonic boom.

Andrew Love, who lives near the explosion, told The Times-Picayune that his "house actually shook".

Rescue workers climbed onto the rig to turn off the gas line, despite the intense heat.

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The rig is operated by CLOVELLY Oil, The New Orleans Advocate.

Officials said that five injured men had been transported to a level one trauma center in critical condition, and two had been hospitalized in stable condition. Authorities say there has been no reports of building damage on shore.

Three of the injured people were Clovelly employees.

Clovelly Oil Co. owns the platform, said Taylor Darden, a lawyer for the company listed as its registered agent with the Louisiana Secretary of State.

The site of an oil and natural gas platform explosion is called Lake Pontchartrain, but it's not a freshwater lake. "It takes oil and gas" from wells, he said. The gas is treated at the platform before moving onshore, he said.

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No other rigs on the lake were at risk of igniting, according to authorities.

The platform is located in Jefferson Parish.

Officials said Jefferson Parish drinking water will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River.

The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation, as will the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

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