BUSINESS

Mexico's state oil company says 3 workers still missing after fire on offshore platform

04/02/2015 11:33 EDT | Updated 06/02/2015 05:59 EDT
MEXICO CITY - Three workers are missing following the huge blaze on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico that killed four workers and burned for hours, Mexico's state oil company said Thursday.

Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it became aware of the missing workers when it recounted personnel after Wednesday's fire on the Abkatun-A Permanente shallow-water platform in the Campeche Sound.

One of the missing workers was from Pemex and the other two were employed by contractor Cotemar, a company statement said.

Investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which injured 16 people, two seriously, and forced the evacuation of 300 workers.

Pemex said it managed to avert any significant oil spill. Officials said environmental damage was avoided because the fire happened on a processing platform where the feeder lines could be turned off, rather than at an active oil well with a virtually unlimited amount of fuel flowing up from the seabed.

Pemex Director General Emilio Lozoya said the accident "would have a minimal impact on production, because this was a processing platform," not a producing well.

On Wednesday, helicopters flew workers with bandaged hands and faces and burn marks on their overalls to the nearby city of Ciudad del Carmen, where crowds of relatives of oil workers thronged outside hospitals.

Survivors said the blaze engulfed the platform, forcing people to leap into the sea or flee in evacuation boats.