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Gulf oil rig explosion: 2 missing, 11 hospitalized

An oil rig exploded and caught fire in the Gulf.

Oil explosionEnlarge
(KLFY/Screengrab)

Eleven people were injured and two people were still missing Friday after an oil rig exploded and caught fire in the Gulf off the coast of Louisiana, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Earlier reports said two workers had died, but the US Coast Guard could not confirm that.

Twenty-two workers were on the rig at the time the blaze erupted, Coast Guard Capt. Ed Cubanski told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The fire was eventually put out and the rig was "structurally sound," NBC News reported.

There were about 80 barrels of petroleum product on the rig at the time of the explosion, and about 28 gallons were expected to have leaked into the Gulf, according to the Times-Picayune.

The oil rig is owned by Houston-based energy company Black Elk Energy, which confirmed that the four injured workers were air-lifted to a hospital, KHOU reported.

A statement was posted on the company's website: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are impacted. We have Black Elk personnel on the scene and en route. We are still collecting information at this time. We will release a statement this afternoon when we have more details."

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The two missing people are "probably overboard," Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega told ABC News.

The explosion comes just one day after BP was ordered to pay a record $4.5 billion fine for its Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/wildlife-news/121116/gulf-oil-rig-explosion