According to reports from the Houston Chronicle and The Times-Picayune, a deep-water oil drilling rig known as the MODU Deepwater Horizon exploded and caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico late Tuesday with 126 people on board, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed. Officials have not reported any fatalities. Seven people were reported critically injured and 11 are still missing. The blast about 50 miles southeast of Venice and those injured were receiving medical treatment in New Orleans, and Alabama according to the Coast Guard. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig is located 50 miles southeast of Venice in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone attempted to evacuate the rig after the fire, but as many as 11 crew members were missing as of 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesau. Four Coast Guard helicopters, four rescue boats and a plane are searching the waters. “We hope we find them all on a lifeboat together,” Ben-Iesau added. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser reportedly told WWL-TV at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday that the rig was leaning and ran the danger of becoming submerged. The fire still burned.
According to upstreamonline.com, an international oil and gas news website, Transocean owned the rig, which was working for the energy company BP. The explosion occurred about 10 p.m.
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