The Search for the Missing Rig Worker Has Been Suspended
As of last evening, the U.S. Coast Guard has ceased its search for the missing rig worker in Lake Pontchartrain. Their search was conducted over nearly 24 hours nonstop, utilizing 10 search missions covering 90 square miles. In a statement, the Coast Guard sent their thoughts and prayers to the family of Timothy Morrison, 44, who was left missing when a gas and oil storage rig exploded on Sunday night. Commander Zac Ford, who released the Coast Guard’s statement, said “The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one.”
The Coast Guard searched the lake overnight, battling 4-foot and 5-foot waves. Helicopters were brought in after dawn to assist. Mr. Morrison, who was from Katy, TX, was one of at least 8 crew members who were on the rig when a combination of cleaning chemicals and natural gas caused a massive explosion. The blast was felt by residents of Kenner over a mile away, with at least one resident claiming it knocked him out of his chair.
Three Workers Still Critically Injured
All 7 of the accounted-for workers were injured in the blast. Four of them were treated and released on Monday, but three of them are still in critical condition. Two of the workers are reportedly in the burn unit in Baton Rouge. The platform is operated by Clovelly Oil Co., but some of the workers were allegedly from Hydra Steam Generator Inc., who was hired to clean the rig’s pipes in routine maintenance.
While the exact cause of the explosion is not yet known, officials have noted the crucial factors needed for the explosion were all present: the cleaning chemicals and a natural gas line (which was open). Now officials are inspecting the rig to find out what led to ignition.