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April 22nd, 2010

Oil rig that had explosion sinks; 11 still missing

The Coast Guard is saying the oil platform Deepwater Horizon that suffered a massive explosion two days ago has sunk in the Gulf of Mexico.   Coast Guard Petty Officer Katherine McNamara said Thursday that the Deepwater Horizon had gone under.  The Coast Guard is still searching for 11crewmembers who went missing after the blast Tuesday.  The rig had been burning since the explosion. Supply vessels had been shooting water at it to try to control the flames and prevent the platform from sinking.  The rig is about twice the size of a football field. It is owned by Transocean, which is under contract to oil giant BP.  The rig was doing exploratory drilling about 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

There were 126 people aboard the rig at the time.  Most of the crew was ferried off the burning rig by nearby boats, the Coast Guard says. At least 17 people were injured; four critically.

Oil is leaking from the rig at the rate of about 8,000 barrels of crude per day. The Coast Guard is also preparing for possible leaks of up to 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but can do little to protect the environment until the fire is out.

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