Third death confirmed in Black Elk fire

Offshore staff

HOUSTON – The body of a worker missing since the November 16 platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico has been recovered near the site of the explosion, according to reports.

The discovery raises the death toll from the fire on the Black Elk Energy-operated platform in West Delta block 32 to three. All three victims were Philippines nationals reportedly working for contractor Grand Isle Shipyard.

Local authorities identified the body of Jerome Malagapo using dental records, Dow Jones reported. The body of another missing crew member, Ellroy Corporal, was found shortly after the incident.

Black Elk issued a statement November 23 following the death of Avelino Tajonera, one of 11 workers injured in the blast.

“We continue to work in close cooperation with government officials to understand exactly what happened in this incident,” the company said.

Three of the injured workers remain hospitalized, two in critical condition, according to the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C.

Federal authorities are investigating the accident. On November 21, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement ordered Black Elk Energy to take “immediate steps to improve its safety performance on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf” and charged the company with “numerous safety incidents involving Black Elk facilities” prior to the West Delta 32 incident.

11/29/12

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