An oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has left 11 workers missing. Rescuers have reunited over 100 survivors from the massive explosion which occurred Tuesday April 20, 2010 at an offshore platform leased by BP, near the coast of Louisiana. The Coast Guard and rescue aircraft have worked frantically to extinguish flames and evacuate survivors. The Coast Guard is searching an area over 2,000 square miles in size in a desperate attempt to find the 11 missing workers. This platform has an oil well which produces over 13,000 gallons of raw crude oil in an hour. The rig has been shut down as 4 vessels armed with fire fighting apparatus attempt to put out the flames which caused workers to dive from the platform into the sea to escape the massive fire at the time of the explosion.
Lieutenant Sue Kerver of the Coast Guard reported to "Good Morning America" that the search has been successful because of "really good weather, which is fortunate in a search and rescue case...Calm seas, calm winds, good visibility" have aided rescue efforts. Searchers recovered 100 survivors, with seventeen evacuated to New Orleans Hospitials with critical injuries and others physically harmed by the explosion.
Observers report "plumes of smoke" with flames stretching up to 10,000 feet into the sky. A massive fireball lit the darkness of Tuesday night and aided the search efforts of two Coast Guard cutters. Petty officer Blair Doten reported that "the best way to describe it is a big mushroom cloud, almost like a bomb went off."
Aircraft resumed their aerial search at first light to assist in finding the remaining eleven people missing as a result of the explosion.