Oil possibly leaking in Lake Pontchartrain after rig explosion injures seven; one missing

(KENNER, La. ) –Officials warned that oil may be leaking into Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans after a large rig explosion injured at least 7 people and left one missing on Sunday.

Witnesses reported hearing loud explosions, seeing a large fireball and cloud of smoke after an oil transfer station went up in the lake near the city of Kenner, just outside New Orleans.

The Coast Guard said it was coordinating search efforts for the missing man and dispatched two rescue boats and a helicopter rescue crew. Local fire officials said the blaze was under control but that oil may be leaking into the lake.

Seven people were transferred to local hospitals. Five of them were initially taken to a trauma center and were listed in critical condition with “blast type injuries and burns,” according to Michael Guillot, director of East Jefferson Emergency Medical Services

Early on Monday Guillot updated the trauma patients’ conditions to one critical, three serious and one stable.

Investigators arrived on the scene Sunday and were looking into reports of cleaning chemicals on the rig triggering the blast, officials said.

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