facebook
twitter
search
search

Drilling rig in Gulf of Mexico collapses after fire

July 24, 2013 at 3:38 PM
1 of 2

GRAND ISLE, La., July 24 (UPI) -- A Gulf of Mexico drilling rig that caught fire has started to collapse, as natural gas leaks from the well it was drilling, federal officials said Wednesday.

The 44 crew members of the rig, 55 miles offshore of Grand Isle, La., were safely evacuated Tuesday morning after the well it was drilling blew out. The natural gas ignited Tuesday night, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Two firefighting vessels were forced to move away from the area, while a third firefighting ship was heading to the area, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement said in a statement.

A spokesman for Walter Oil & Gas, owner of the well, initially said a blowout preventer -- a device meant to shut off out-of-control oil and gas wells -- failed. The company later said it was still investigating the cause of the blowout.

The failure of a blowout preventer was implicated in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and led to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, the newspaper noted.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Demand for mobile phones in North Korea means two per household
Islamic State re-captures part of key Kurdish-held border town in Syria
Volcanic eruption alerts authorities in Japan
Girl Scouts chapter returns $100K donation that excluded transgender girls
More than 1,000 prisoners, some al-Qaida, escape Yemeni prison