Three Workers Confirmed Dead from Black Elk Explosion Accident

The death toll from the Nov. 16 explosion and fire incident that took place on Houston-based Black Elk Energy's oil platform has climbed to three, after authorities identified a body recovered Monday as that of a missing Filipino worker.

The Philippines' Embassy said in a statement Wednesday that the third fatality in the accident has also claimed the lives of two other Filipinos and left three others seriously injured.

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia noted that while the Embassy was informed of the recovery of the body as early as Monday, it had decided not to release any information until the remains were positively identified.

"The body was spotted near an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, about 20 miles from the ill-fated platform that he and eight other Filipinos were working on at the time of the incident," Cuisia said in the statement.

Cuisia added that the body was identified through dental records.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement (BSEE) sent a letter to Black Elk last week requesting specific actions, following a number of violations incurred during the past two years. BSEE noted that Black Elk's "troubling" safety incidents include the Nov. 16 explosion, the October issuance of 45 incidents of non-compliance for nine facilities in the U.S. Gulf, and an incident in October 2011 that led to the hospitalization of six workers, among others.

Grand Isle, a town home to around 1,300 people on a barrier island at the far southern tip of Louisiana, has been 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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