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Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Workers

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The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for two workers who have been missing since Friday's explosion on their oil and gas production platform off Louisiana's coast, the government said Saturday.

Emergency crews had been searching a 1,400 square-mile area for more than 32 hours to locate the two workers, who were believed to have gone overboard after the explosion on the platform owned by Black Elk Energy. The search would be suspended pending further developments, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The missing workers were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard Inc., which employed 14 of the 22 people aboard at the time of the accident. Four other workers were in critical but stable condition after suffering large second- and third-degree burns.

The workers were performing maintenance on the platform, which had not been operating when the accident occurred. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Saturday it has established a seven-member team to investigate the explosion and fire.

"Witnesses will be interviewed, and documents containing the work procedures for the construction project will be reviewed," the BSEE said in a statement.

The explosion occurred about 20 miles offshore of Grand Isle, a town of around 1,300 people on a barrier island at the far southern tip of Louisiana that was also deeply affected by the August 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 and unleashed the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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