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GULF OIL PLATFORM EXPLODES, BURNING OFF LOUSIANA COAST

By NBF News

An offshore petroleum platform exploded and burned on Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico off Lousiana, United States, west of the site of BP's massive spill, but no leaks were reported.

The Coast Guard said no one was killed in the explosion, which was spotted by a commercial helicopter flying over the site Thursday morning, Associated Press reports.

All 13 people aboard the rig were found floating in the water in survival gear called 'gumby suits,' sticking close together, Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer John Edwards said.

'These guys had the presence of mind, used their training to get into those gumby suits before they entered the water. It speaks volumes to safety training and the importance of it because beyond getting off the rig there's all the hazards of the water such as hypothermia and things of that nature,' Edwards said.

The platform was in about 340 feet of water, considered shallow water and far less than the roughly 5,000 feet where BP's well spewed oil and gas for three months after an April rig explosion.

The crew were rescued from the water by an offshore service vessel, the Crystal Clear, and taken to a nearby platform, said Coast Guard Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesau.

All were being flown to a hospital in Houma to be checked over. Ben-Iesau said one person was injured, but the platform's owner, Houston-based Mariner Energy, Inc., said there were no injuries.

'Mariner has notified and is working with regulatory authorities in response to this incident. The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken,' the company said in a statement.