Second Death Confirmed from Black Elk Explosion in the GOM

A Filipino oil worker who was badly burned in an explosion incident aboard the Houston-based and private-owned Black Elk Energy oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has died from his injuries on Nov. 23, the Philippines Embassy confirmed in a statement.

His death brings the fatality toll from the Nov. 16 incident to two, both of whom are Filipinos. Three more Filipino workers are still being treated for serious wounds from the blaze, while a sixth Filipino worker has still not been found.

The Philippines Embassy also disclosed in its statement that there were three other Filipino workers on the oil platform when the explosion took place. They were not hurt by the blast, and have since returned to Manila after providing their accounts of the incident to investigating federal authorities.

Black Elk was issued a subpoena by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board seeking details on the company's safety and environmental management plans and audits by the U.S. Department of Interior. Black Elk is required to respond to the subpoena by Nov. 30.

Nov. 16 reports from the U.S. Coast Guard stated that production was not flowing from the well and at least 26 to 28 people have been aboard the platform. The workers were cutting into a long on the platform when sparks from a torch hit a storage tank, which then exploded. The platform is located around 17 miles offshore Grand Isle, Louisiana in 21 feet of water.

Grand Isle, a town home to around 1,300 people on a barrier island at the far southern tip of Louisiana, is also grappling with losses brought about by the August 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 and unleashed the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.


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