NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard suspended its search on Saturday for two crewmembers who remain missing following an explosion on West Delta 32, an oil production platform owned by Black Elk Energy and located roughly 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.
On Sunday, CNN reported that one of those crewmembers had been found dead at the bottom of the ocean, under the platform.
The explosion occurred on Friday morning and resulted in the medical evacuation of 11 crewmembers. Nine other crewmembers were uninjured and safely evacuated as well. The fire caused by the explosion has now been extinguished and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has initiated an investigation into the cause of the explosion and resulting fire. The seven-member team conducting the investigation includes safety inspectors, engineers, safety management personnel and law-enforcement experts, according to a press release.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and missing and their families,” the BSEE said in a statement released on Saturday. “BSEE is committed to determining the direct and indirect causes of the explosion and will take appropriate enforcement action.”
The Coast Guard initially responded with response boats from Coast Guard Stations Grand Isle and Venice, the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutters Pelican and Razorbill, an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft crew and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station New Orleans. However, after more than 32 hours of searching 1,400 square miles for the two missing crewmembers, the search was halted pending further information on their whereabouts.
For a report on the explosion, you can watch the following video: