Coast Guard responding to oil drilling platform fire

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes, and cutters are responding to an explosion and fire aboard a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) approximately 52 miles Southeast of Venice.

Watchstanders at the U.S. Coast Guard District Eight command center here received a report at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday of an explosion and fire aboard the MODU Deepwater Horizon.

Reports are that the estimated 126 people on board have gotten off the rig. Seven critical injuries were reported. Three were met by ambulance at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans; two were medevaced to West Jefferson hospital in New Orleans, La. by air ambulance and two were flown to Mobile Trauma Center in Mobile, Ala.

There are approximately 11-12 people who remain missing.

Coast Guard units responding:

Air Station New Orleans:
* Two HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopters and crews

Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala.:
* One HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter and crew
* One HH-60 rescue helicopter and crew
* One HC-144 Ocean Sentry rescue plane and crew

In addition, the Coast Guard cutters Pompano and Zephyr are on scene and cutters Razorbill, Pelican, and Cobia are en route to assist.

A next of kin hotline has been set up and the phone number is (832) 587-8554.

The fire is still burning and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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