Coroner identifies victim in platform explosion; BSEE probe begins

Coroner identifies victim in platform explosion; BSEE probe begins

An Abbeville man died Thursday in a platform explosion about 12 miles off the coast of Plaquemines Parish, and investigators are now trying to figure out what caused the blast, which also injured three other workers.

The Jefferson Parish coroner identified the deceased as 24-year-old Jerrell Hancock.

The platform is owned by Fieldwood Energy out of Houston. The company released the following statement:

"I got to tell you, for about an hour last night, it feels like a hurricane not knowing how bad it's gonna be," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

Officials in Plaquemines Parish, are still recovering from the 2010 spill that sent millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

"It brought back a lot of memories, and we thank God this is not something of that magnitude," said Nungesser.

The injured workers, who are with the contractor Turnkey Cleaning Services, were brought to West Jefferson Medical Center. The explosion occurred while they were cleaning a piece of equipment used to separate oil from other liquids. All three have since been released.

Officials with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement began their investigation on the platform Friday.

"It's horrible. You never want to lose anyone anywhere," said Nungesser.

Fieldwood Energy released the following statement Friday:

"Fieldwood Energy LLC Press Release re West Delta 105 “E” Incident—November 21, 2014; 10:00 a.m. central

At Fieldwood Energy, our top priority is the safety of our employees and contractors. We regret that yesterday afternoon there was an incident at our West Delta 105 “E” platform that occurred when employees of Turnkey Cleaning Services were cleaning a heater treater, which is a piece of equipment that separates oil from water and other liquids. Turnkey Cleaning Services is a Louisiana based industrial cleaning service company that specializes in the cleaning of offshore facilities, including the cleaning of heater treaters.

During the cleaning process, one Turnkey employee was fatally injured and a second suffered visible injuries. The Turnkey employee who suffered visible injuries was immediately flown to West Jefferson Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Two other individuals who were on the platform complained of ringing in their ears, so they also were flown to the same hospital to be evaluated. All three of these individuals have been evaluated and released from the hospital. All other personnel on the platform have been accounted for and are safe.

The West Delta 105 “E” platform has not been producing oil or gas for over a week, as the facility was undergoing routine maintenance operations when the incident occurred. There were no wells that were producing at the time of the incident. The explosion that was mentioned in the initial reports was not a well explosion or well blowout. Instead, it was an isolated pressure event that occurred inside the heater treater and did not result in a fire on the platform. This incident was not related to a drilling operation but, instead, occurred during maintenance operations at the platform. There was no oil spill or pollution that resulted from this incident and it was contained immediately after it occurred with no damage to the environment, the platform, or the platform's wells.

We do not have additional details at this point. We are working hand in hand with BSEE, the Coast Guard, and Turnkey Cleaning Services to investigate this incident fully. We will post additional information on our company website as we learn more details. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family of the deceased Turnkey Cleaning Services employee."

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