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Oil Rig Explodes Near New Orleans

1 missing; at least 7 injured
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2017 4:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – One person is missing and at least seven people are hospitalized with injuries after an oil rig explosion on a Louisiana lake. Emergency officials say the blast happened on Lake Pontchartrain around 7pm Sunday near the city of Kenner, WDSU reports. Authorities say five of the injured people are in critical condition with "blast type injuries and burns" and the other two are in stable condition. Police say more injuries are expected. Search and rescue operations at the lake, which is north of New Orleans, continued overnight.

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"My house actually shook," area resident Andrew Love tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "At first I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening." Authorities say "cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform," the city of Kenner posted on its Facebook page late Sunday. The platform, which is used for the transfer of oil, is owned by the Clovelly Oil Co., the AP reports. Authorities say there is a chance oil could be leaking into the lake. The Coast Guard and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation plan to carry out water quality evaluations. (Read more oil rig explosion stories.)

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