Body of Missing Worker Found Near Damaged Black Elk Platform

Dow Jones
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November 28, 2012

Commercial vessels extinguish a platform fire on board West Delta 32 approximately 20 miles offshore Grand Isle, La., in the Gulf of Mexico, Nov. 16, 2012. Photo: USCG

A body found in the Gulf of Mexico has been identified as that of a Filipino oil worker who went missing after an explosion on an offshore platform Nov. 16. The discovery raised the death toll from the blast to three.

The offshore accident was the deadliest since the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Local authorities on Wednesday identified the badly decomposed body of Jerome Malagapo, 28, using his dental records from the Philippines, according to Mark Goldman, chief investigator for the Lafouche Parish Coroner’s Office in Louisiana. The cause of death had not been determined.

Mr. Malagapo hadn’t been since the Nov. 16 explosion and fire on a platform owned by Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC, which is anchored roughly 20 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, in southern Louisiana. His body was recovered Monday about 2 1/2 miles off the coast of Grand Isle after it was sighted by workers on a supply ship, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The two other workers who died in the platform accident were also Philippines nationals, according to the Embassy of the Philippines. Three additional workers from the Philippines remain hospitalized from the explosion, with two in critical condition and one in fair condition, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia said Wednesday.

The injured and dead workers were among nine Filipinos working on the Black Elk platform on behalf of a contractor, Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. Black Elk and Grand Isle didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Federal regulators are probing the causes of the Nov. 16 explosion and fire, which was the second fatal accident in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

-By Daniel Gilbert. (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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