U.S. oil rig sunk after explosion, 11 workers still missing

08:50, April 23, 2010      

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An oil rig that suffered an explosion two days ago has sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, and search for the 11 workers missing in the blast continued, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday.

Coast Guard teams had been combating the fire on the Deepwater Horizon, which suffered the blast about 10 p.m. Tuesday off the Louisiana coast and continued burning since then, the Coast Guard said.

The rig had deteriorated badly throughout the morning, authorities said.

Meanwhile, an aerial search continued for the 11 workers aboard the rig who have been missing since the explosion.

A Coast Guard helicopter and rescue plane scanned the deep seas off Louisiana's coast while two cutters scoured the waters from below for any trace of the missing workers, according to local media report.

The sunny weather and calm seas made the conditions favorable for the search, according to the Coast Guard.

Rescuers have covered about 1,940 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico since late Tuesday searching for the missing, said Ashley Butler, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

"Right now the Coast Guard's main focus is search and rescue and will continue to search," she said.

There were 126 people aboard the semi-submerged drilling rig when it exploded. Most of them have escaped safely. 17 workers were injured and seven of them in serious conditions.

Family members of Shane Roshto of Amite, who went missing in the blast, filed a lawsuit in New Orleans on Thursday accusing the rig's owner of negligence, according to CNN.

Built in 2001, the semi-submersible rig is owned by Houston- based Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling contractor, and has been under lease by BP (NYSE:BP) since 2007. It was drilling but was not in production.

Source:Xinhua

(Editor:梁军)

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