Awaiting plan for permanent plug on Gulf gas well

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Air and water navigation restrictions remain in place around a natural gas well that blew wild and caught fire earlier this week about 55 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement was expected Friday afternoon to announce the status of plans to permanently plug the well, where the fire went out after the spewing gas was choked off by sand and sediment.

The cause of the Tuesday morning gas blowout, which forced evacuation of 44 workers, is under investigation. The drilling rig caught fire Tuesday night, complicating efforts to bring it under control.

On Thursday, officials said sand and sediment appeared to have cut the gas flow in a process called "bridging over," which sometimes happens to gas wells drilled in relatively shallow waters.

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