Rescuers Cancel Search For Missing Oil Worker, Death Toll At 2

After more than five days of searching, rescuers in the Gulf of Mexico have stopped looking for the second victim of a deadly oil rig explosion at a Black Elk Energy facility. The explosion happened early Friday morning while workers were performing maintenance tasks on one of the facility's pipes.

Of the approximately 24 workers on the platform at the time, Black Elk said that 11 required hospital treatment. Four others suffered severe second- and third-degree burns while two workers disappeared into the ocean. Rescuers located the body of one of these workers on Saturday but could not find any trace of the second.

Authorities now presume that the second man also died. When an oil company's negligence causes a fatal accident, the victims' family members are entitled to bring wrongful death claims to hold the company accountable for the loss of a loved one.

One complicating factor might affect claims by this victim's family. According to coverage by CBS News, the victim was working on the platform as a contractor. This means that he was not employed by Black Elk. As a result, this family will have to look at the actions of both Black Elk and the man's actual employer - either or both of these companies could be to blame for his death.

Federal agencies are still determining what went wrong to cause this accident. Based on Black Elk's history of three other safety concerns within the last two years, it seems very possible that the oil company's negligence or improper maintenance played a role in these deaths. If that is the case, wrongful death claims are available to help the victims' families move forward without the expected support and companionship of their loved ones.

Source: CBS News, "Search for missing oil platform worker stopped," Nov. 21, 2012

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