Dead, missing oil rig workers identified

GRAND ISLE, La., Nov. 19 (UPI) -- One worker killed and another still missing in last week's fire aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico were from the Philippines, officials said Monday.

The contract worker whose body was recovered Saturday night was identified by DNR Offshore and Crewing Services as Ellroy Corporal, 42, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported. The missing worker is Jerome Malagapo, age unavailable, of Cebu City, the oil-field employment agency said.


The Philippines Embassy in Washington said Corporal is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, and two children. His body was in New Orleans being prepared to be returned to his hometown of Iligan City.

The oil rig, owned by Black Elk Energy of Houston, caught fire Friday morning 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La. Eleven of the 22 workers on board were injured -- two critically -- and nine were evacuated unhurt.

The Houston Chronicle said Corporal was working for Grand Isle Shipyard, an oil-field contractor performing maintenance on the platform.

The Houston newspaper reported federal Chemical Safety Board investigators had subpoenaed Black Elk records. The subpoena addresses nine areas of interest, including the names of witnesses, possible physical evidence on the platform and the use of combustible gas detectors on the rig.


Construction contractors were apparently cutting through a water line at the time of the accident, the Chronicle said.

The board also asked for documents relating to safety and environmental management programs in use on the rig and what substances were stored on it, as well as information about the company's track record.

Black Elk Energy said Sunday it would add more dive crews and boats to look for Malagapo, The Times-Picayune said.

"We remain focused on the victims and their families, including those injured in the incident," Black Elk Energy said in a statement. "An official investigation has begun to examine the facts surrounding this incident, and we will continue to cooperate with all authorities as this process develops."

The company said it hired two more commercial dive boats and started a beach search with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Department. It said it also contacted all helicopter companies flying in the area to help in a visual search effort. Search-and-rescue dogs also will be used, the company said.

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