UPDATE: Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Man After Oil Platform Explosion

Jefferson Parish, La., authorities and others from other parishes respond to an oil rig explosion in Lake Pontchartrain off Kenner, La., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Matthew Hinton/The Advocate via AP)

UPDATE 8:43 pm –The Coast Guard announced Monday night that they have suspended its search for the man who was missing after an explosion on an oil platform in Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner, Louisiana.

The missing man is Timothy Morrison, 44, of Katy, Texas.

The Coast Guard said in a press release that, “after saturating the search area using multiple resources and assets, rescuers suspended the search for Morrison at 7:15 p.m.”

“The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one,” said Cmdr. Zac Ford. “We send our thoughts and prayers to the Morrison family and all those affected by this incident.”

The fire on the platform, which is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., was extinguished Monday morning.

Coast Guard pilots from Air Station New Orleans flew over the area Monday and reported no visible signs of pollution. The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the area for any potential pollution.

Louisiana State Police HAZMAT Division is investigating the cause of the explosion.


UPDATE 11:58 a.m. October 16, 2017.

According to a press release from the Coast Guard, “the fire on the platform, which is owned by Clovelly Oil Co., has been extinguished.”

Eight people were on the platform when it exploded.  Seven of those individuals were able to make it to shore and transported to the hospital.

The Coast Guard is continuing their search for a missing man. The name of the missing man is not being released.

At this time the cause of the explosion is unknown.


KENNER, La. (AP) — An oil rig explosion on a lake north of New Orleans, apparently caused when cleaning chemicals ignited, injured seven people and left authorities searching for another who was missing.

There were “a lot of injuries,” many of them serious, with at least seven confirmed and more expected from the Sunday evening explosion on Lake Pontchartrain, Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor told The Times-Picayune . No deaths were immediately reported.

Rescue boats surround a rig in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, La., after the rig exploded late on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The explosion took place Sunday night in Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish, a Louisiana police department said. (Chris Granger/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)

Five of the injured people were hospitalized with “blast-type injuries and burns” Mike Guillot, director of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services, told reporters. They were in critical condition, he said.

“Authorities on the scene report that cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform,” the City of Kenner Government posted on its Facebook page Sunday evening.

Reports of fire and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain came into the Emergency Operations center around 7:15 p.m., Jefferson Parish spokesman Antwan Harris said in a news release Sunday night.

Clovelly Oil Co. owns the platform that is in production, said Taylor Darden, a lawyer for the company who is listed as its registered agent with the Louisiana Secretary of State.

The platform, located in Jefferson Parish, is used for the transfer of oil, said Chief David Tibbets of the East Bank Consolidated Fire Department. He said the department’s current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.

Authorities acknowledged there was a possibility that the fire meant oil could be leaking into the lake, but noted that Jefferson Parish drinking water will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River.

Social media users reported hearing a loud noise that even rattled some homes.

Andrew Love, 32, told the newspaper he was inside his house about 10 blocks away when he heard the explosion. “My house actually shook,” he said. “At first I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening.”

Flames could be seen from the area and the air smelled of burning rubber, according to the newspaper.

The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation as well as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

A U. S. Coast Guard helicopter searches for a missing body around an oil rig in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, La., after the rig exploded late on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The explosion took place Sunday night in Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish, a Louisiana police department said. (Chris Granger/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)

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