— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) October 16, 2017
This NBC News video shows a burning oil rig on darkened Lake Pontchartrain (in north Kenner, Louisiana), where an explosion injured at least seven people with at least one person still unaccounted for. The incident took place at around 9:00pm EST, and a few hours later, the resulting blaze has continued to burn. The City of Kenner Government’s Facebook page reveals how authorities believe that the blast occurred when “cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform.”
According to Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto (who spoke with local CBS affiliate WWL), the hunt for the missing worker is still being treated “as a search and rescue.” Sgt. Brian McGregor of the Kenner Police Department told CBS News that a “lot of injuries” — including burns and impact-related traumas from the blast — occurred, and the official number of those injured may increase. NOLA.com reveals that, of those who were hurt, five are in critical condition. Here’s more about the oil rig in question:
The platform, which is located in unincorporated Jefferson Parish, is in production and owned by Clovelly Oil Co., according to Taylor Darden, who is a lawyer for the company and listed with the Louisiana Secretary of State as its registered agent. East Bank Consolidated Fire Department Chief David Tibbets said Sunday that the platform is used for the transfer of oil, and the department’s goal currently is to stop the oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.
Once daylight arrives, both the Coast Guard and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation aim to perform water quality evaluations. However, NOLA.com adds that Jefferson Parish’s drinking water (which comes from the Mississippi River) shouldn’t be affected, although oil could still be leaking into the lake.
We will continue to bring you updates on this story as they arrive.