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Coast guard searches for missing workers after oil rig explosion

Rescue crew surrounds an oil platform which exploded early this morning in the Gulf of Mexico Photo: Sean Gardner / Reuters

The Coast Guard is searching for two workers missing after a fire erupted on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The fire, begun while workers were using a torch to cut an oil line, critically injured at least four workers who had burns over much of their bodies.

Plane from U.S. Coast Guard flies near an oil platform Credit: Sean Gardner / Reuters

A sheen of oil about a half-mile long and 200 yards wide was reported on the Gulf surface, but officials believe it came from residual oil on the platform.

"It's not going to be an uncontrolled discharge from everything we're getting right now," Coast Guard Capt. Ed Cubanski said.

Rescue crew surrounds an oil platform Credit: Sean Gardner / Reuters

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Bobby Nash said that monitoring continues to show no oil is coming from the well. He said a Coast Guard cutter was continuing its search into the night, and that a broader rescue effort would resume after daybreak today.

Eleven people were taken by helicopter to area hospitals or for treatment on shore by emergency medical workers.