Oil platform explodes on Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner

Oil platform explodes on Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner

One person still was reported missing at midday Monday and seven people were injured after an oil and natural gas storage transfer platform exploded Sunday night in Lake Pontchartrain near Kenner, LA.

Authorities searched by air and water Monday for a contractor who disappeared when an oil and gas platform exploded on a lake near New Orleans.

The blast was apparently caused by cleaning chemicals that ignited on the rig owned by Clovelly Oil Company. The explosion rattled homes more than a mile away with a sonic boom.

Rescue boats are being sent from the Kenner Boat Launch at the end of Williams Boulevard, and officials with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office are assisting with the rescue efforts.

A statement from Clovelly Oil said three oil wells near the platform were shut in at the time of the explosion and its one gas well was flowing, but was successfully shut-in shortly after the explosion. And although nobody has yet died, police officials on scene say numerous injuries were serious.

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Officials said one person was believed to be unaccounted for. The other two are in stable condition at East Jefferson General Hospital.

But arson investigators will determine the cause of the explosion after the fire has burned out, reports WWL. As of now, several people have been rescued from the active fire on the rig and transported to the hospital.

Jefferson Parish spokesman Antwan Harris said in a news release that reports came into the Emergency Operations center around 7:15 p.m. of fire and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain. He said the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.

The explosion was in Jefferson Parish water, but the rig itself is located in unincorporated Jefferson Parish.

The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation as well as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.