US Officials Probe Death Of Worker On Apache Platform

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–U.S. offshore-drilling regulators are investigating the death of a worker who died Wednesday aboard a natural-gas production platform owned by Apache Corp. (APA).

The worker fell into the water as he was moving from a boat to the platform, located about 150 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S. officials said in a statement.

Crew members were able to get the worker out of the water and on to the platform, but he became unresponsive shortly afterward and was subsequently pronounced dead, officials said.

The incident occurred around 7:45 a.m. CST.

The worker wasn’t an employee of Apache. He worked for a maintenance company Apache had hired to do maintenance on the platform, Apache spokesman Bill Mintz said. The worker was wearing a personal flotation device, he said.

“Our goal every day is to operate in a safe manner and avoid accidents,” Mintz said.

After the incident, U.S. Interior Department officials flew to the scene to begin an investigation.

“This tragic accident underscores why we are continuing to work with the industry to ensure the highest safety standards on offshore facilities,” said Michael Bromwich, director of the department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

Apache is working with the department and the U.S. Coast Guard as they seek to determine what happened, Mintz said. Apache hadn’t announced the worker’s death until U.S. officials said Thursday they were conducting an investigation.

Mintz declined to provide details on the age of the worker because he wasn’t sure the next of kin had been informed of the incident.

-By Tennille Tracy, Dow Jones Newswires

Pictured: Rig in U.S. GoM courtesy Apache Corp