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Explosion On West Cote Blanche Platform

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The U.S. Coast Guard says an explosion took place on a platform near West Cote Blanche around 8:42 a.m. Friday.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Ed Cubanski says there were 22 workers on the platform when it caught on fire. Cubanski says nine workers were not injured while eleven were flown to area hospitals. He says at least four victims are reportedly suffering from extensive burns, and are now hospitalized. Two people remain missing.

Cubanski says workers were performing maintenance on the platform when the explosion occurred.

Cubanski says an oil sheen was spotted in the area of one-half-mile long by 200 yards, but a large release of oil is not expected.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, says two helicopters, an airplane and small boats were sent to the area. The Coast Guard has now confirmed that the fire is out on the platform.

The production platform is owned by Black Elk Energy.  It is about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.

We will update this story throughout the day as more information becomes available.

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