Natural gas rig in Gulf blows out; 44 workers evacuated

GULF OF MEXICO (WAFB) - According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a natural gas rig blew out around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the evacuation of all 44 workers on board.

Officials say all 44 workers were safely evacuated from the Hercules No. 265 rig, which is about 40 miles south and 10 to 15 miles west of Grand Isle, La.

No injuries were reported, and officials say the workers escaped the rig on two off-shore lifeboats. They were then transferred to an offshore supply vessel, the Max Cheramie, which then took the workers to shore.

"Walter Oil & Gas this morning reported the loss of control of Well A-3 on an unmanned platform at South Timbalier Block 220 while doing completion work on the sidetrack well to prepare the well for production. The well is flowing gas and no oil is being released," said a statement from Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to WWL-TV in New Orleans.

According to WWL-TV, the Coast Guard is sending a helicopter and a vessel to assist.

"BSEE inspectors conducting an overflight reported a light sheen one-half mile by 50 feet in area which is dissipating almost immediately," BSEE said in a statement to WWL-TV.

There is no word yet on any environmental impacts or the cause of the blow out. The situation is under investigation.

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