Rig in Gulf of Mexico Hit by Fire; 12 Workers Missing, 7 Critically Injured

Up to a dozen crew members were missing and at least seven were critically injured after an explosion and fire late on April 20 hit a Transocean drilling rig that was working off the Louisiana coast, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard helicopters, planes and vessels are searching for the missing workers, the agency said in a statement.

Of the seven injured, two were flown to a hospital in New Orleans and two were flown to a burn unit in Mobile, Alabama, the Coast Guard said.

An estimated 126 people had been on board the rig at the time of the explosion, officials said, and the cause of the accident was not immediately known.

The semisubmersible rig was drilling for BP about 41 miles offshore Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon Block 252, according to Transocean.

The Coast Guard received a report about 10 p.m. local time (0300 GMT) about an explosion and fire aboard the rig and dispatched units.

Transocean, based in Zug, Switzerland, is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor.

Shares of Transocean fell 1.1 percent to $90.98 in early New York Stock Exchange trading.

(Additional reporting by Bruce Nichols in Houston, Matt Daily in New York and Janet McGurty in Toronto; Editing by Keiron Henderson and Lisa Von Ahn)