1 missing, after oil rig explodes on Louisiana lake

The platform, in an unincorporated area of Jefferson Parish, "does service both oil and natural gas", according to authorities.

"The good news is that the platform is close to shore and Lake Pontchartrain is shallow and the lake is calm and there are no winds", said Carlton Dufrechou, director of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, at the press conference.

Its water covers 630 square miles (1630 square kilometers) but it's generally only about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) deep.

An explosion hit an oil platform on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana Sunday night, injuring seven people and possibly leaving one person unaccounted for.

"We believe there is still one unaccounted for", Sheriff Joe Lopinto said. Authorities expected the blaze to eventually burn itself out.

Officials have said the fire erupted Sunday night, burning natural gas that powers some of the platform's equipment.

A total of seven people were hurt.

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The Coast Guard told CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL-TV the missing person is a ma. The Coast Guard said that the person missing is a man and his name is not being released at this time.

"This is a tremendous effort by all of the agencies involved", said Jefferson Parish President Michael Yenni.

The state Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office and Bayou Gauche Fire Department also responded.

Officials sad five people are in critical condition at University Medical Center, two others are being treated at an area hospital.

Jefferson Parish officials say there were cleaning chemicals aboard the platform but do not know the exact cause of the fire at this time. He said the department's current goal is to stop oil flow and, if needed, let it burn off safely.

Authorities acknowledged there was a possibility that the fire meant oil could be leaking into the lake, but noted that Jefferson Parish drinking water will remain safe because it is pulled from the Mississippi River.

  • Megan Austin