Thirteen crew members drifted in survival suits in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, waiting for rescue, after a well on an oil platform caught fire and forced them into the water. No injuries were reported, but the crew was evaluated at Terrebone General Hospital.
Capt. Peter Troedsson, of the U.S. Coast Guard, said that earlier reports of an oil sheen from the incident are inaccurate. There is no oil sheen, according to the Coast Guard, but they will continue to monitor the site.
The small crew had been performing maintenance on the Vermilion Block 380, when the well burst into flames and forced them into the Gulf.
The cause of the fire has not been determined. Fortunately for all involved, the safety equipment did work. The automated shutoff turned off the gas and oil flow before the fire consumed the active well.
Seven helicopters, a fixed wing aircraft, boats and cutters were sent to the scene by the coast guard.
Originally described as an explosion, this incident is now being referred to as a fire by the owners of the platform, Houston based Mariner Energy Inc. They say that no explosion occurred. Company spokesman Tom Sommers said that most of the damage was in the living quarters section of the platform. They may be able to continue regular operations within a few months, according to Sommers.
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