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The Latest: Coast Guard suspends search for missing man

Jefferson Parish authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain from a staging area near the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, La. Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)
October 16, 2017 - 7:25 PM

KENNER, La. - The Latest on the oil rig explosion near New Orleans (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the man who was unaccounted for after an explosion on an oil platform in Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner, Louisiana.

Forty-four-year-old contractor Timothy Morrison of Katy, Texas, was still missing after the Sunday night explosion.

Seven other people were injured, three critically.

Cmdr. Zac Ford said in a statement Monday night, "The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one. We send our thoughts and prayers to the Morrison family and all those affected by this incident."

The fire on the platform, which is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., was extinguished Monday morning.


4:20 p.m.

A contractor who disappeared during an explosion on an oil and gas platform on Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain has been identified as a 44-year-old man from Katy, Texas.

Two helicopters and numerous boats were involved in the search for Timothy Morrison on Monday. Seven other people were injured, three critically.

The blast took place in waters north of the suburb of Kenner in Jefferson Parish.

Jefferson Sheriff Joe Lopinto said Morrison was a subcontractor for the structure's owner, Clovelly Oil Co. LLC.



The Coast Guard says the fire is out at an oil and gas transfer platform that exploded in flames Sunday evening, and there's no sign of pollution from the accident.

A news release Monday said the Coast Guard is continuing to co-ordinate the search for a man missing since the explosion occurred about 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

Clovelly Oil Co. LLC spokesman Tim O'Leary says the missing man is a contract worker. He says three Clovelly employees and four other contract workers are in hospitals.

He says the crew was performing maintenance when the explosion occurred.


10:30 a.m.

The company that owns an oil and gas platform that exploded says a contract worker is missing, and three company employees and four contractors are injured.

Clovelly Oil Co. LLC spokesman Tim O'Leary says the platform is a collection point for oil and gas from several wells.

A statement from the New Orleans company says a natural gas well was feeding the tank at the time of the explosion, which occurred during maintenance. The statement says its three oil wells were shut in at the time, and the flow from the gas well was cut off after the explosion.

The statement says Clovelly doesn't know if any oil was released into Lake Pontchartrain.


10:30 a.m.

The site of an oil and natural gas platform explosion is called Lake Pontchartrain , but it's not a freshwater lake.

It's a brackish tidal basin that is fed both by the Gulf of Mexico and by fresh water from rivers and streams in 16 Louisiana parishes and four Mississippi counties.

Its water covers 630 square miles (1630 square kilometres) but it's generally only about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 metres) deep. It's 40 miles (64 kilometres) long and 25 miles (40 kilometres) wide.

The U.S. Geological Service describes it as one of America's largest estuaries. Its waters support oysters , crabs and saltwater fish.


9:25 a.m.

A Louisiana sheriff says three people remain in critical condition, with two of them in a burn unit after an explosion on an oil and gas platform on a lake near New Orleans.

At a Monday morning news conference, Jefferson Parrish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said the fire was still burning. Authorities expected the blaze to eventually burn itself out.

Authorities say one person remained missing after the blast and U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching for him.

Lopinto says the search has been complicated by 4 foot to 5-foot (1 metre) seas and stiff winds.

A total of seven people were hurt. Authorities say four of them have been released from hospitals.


7:30 a.m.

U.S. Coast Guard crews hoped to get a helicopter into the air as dawn broke Monday in their ongoing search for a man missing after an oil and gas platform explosion on a lake near New Orleans.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Lexie Preston said that was the plan early Monday morning. She said the helicopter crew also would look to spot any sign of pollution on Lake Pontchartrain, if there is any.

Kenner city officials said authorities at the scene reported that cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform, causing the blast Sunday night. At least seven people were injured, five of them critically.

Authorities said Jefferson Parish drinking water will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River and not the lake.


4:45 a.m.

Rescuers were searching for one person after an oil and gas platform exploded on a lake in Louisiana, injuring seven others.

Jefferson Parish spokesman Antwan Harris said in a news release that reports of fire and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain came into the Emergency Operations centre about 7:15 p.m. Sunday.

Chief David Tibbets of the East Bank Consolidated Fire Department says the platform, located in Jefferson Parish, is used for the transfer of oil. He said the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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