Offshore platform fire claims third victim
One of the men critically burned last week in an offshore oil platform fire died early Friday, according to the Philippine Embassy.
The embassy identified the worker as Avelino L. Tajonera and said he died at a Baton Rouge, La., hospital.
The Nov. 16 explosion and fire on a production platform owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy also killed Ellroy Corporal, 42, whose body was found in the waters near the platform the following night. The search for another missing worker, identified as Jerome Malagapo, 28, was called off earlier this week.
Tajonera was among 11 workers injured, four of them critically, during the explosion and fire on the platform about 18 miles off the Louisiana coast.
The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is investigating the accident. Before last week's fire, the agency had documented more than 300 issues it calls "incidents of non-compliance" by Black Elk during the company's two years operating in the Gulf.
The company has said it is cooperating with the safety bureau's investigation.
Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said in a statement posted on the embassy website that Tajonera's wife and three children had arrived from Manila Thursday evening and were able to see him at Baton Rouge General Hospital hours before his death.
"The Filipino nation joins his family in grieving over their loss," Cuisia said in the statement.
Three other men remain hospitalized, and Cuisia said their families have arrived in Baton Rouge.
Cuisia said he was informed of the death by Randolf Malagapo, executive manager of U.S.-based D&R Resources, which hired Tajonera and the other injured Filipinos to work in Louisiana's offshore oil and gas industry.
Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim said three Filipino workers who survived the accident have returned to Manila.
All of the men involved in the accident were working for Grand Isle Shipyard, which had a contract with Black Elk to refurbish the platform.