A natural gas well is burning uncontrollably off the coast of Louisiana today, after a gas blowout caught fire yesterday, the AP reports. All 44 workers aboard evacuated when the gas leak started earlier in the day, and no one was aboard the well when it ignited at around 10:50pm local time, NBC News reports. It's unclear when or how the fire will be extinguished; personnel from Wild Well Inc. were called in last night, but determined that it wasn't safe enough to go within 200 feet of the well.
A special firefighting boat has now been dispatched, a spokesman for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. The bureau also reported seeing "a light sheen" on the water. Walter Oil & Gas Corp. were in the process of building a "sidetrack well" at the site when the blowout hit, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Local officials say they're watching the well closely "because if there is a natural gas cloud that continues to flow, then you run the risk of an explosion." But, says a local parish president, "nothing that I have received to date has caused me to panic in any way or form. This is not going to be another BP oil spill." (Read more Louisiana stories.)