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Rig collapse tosses crew into water

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 12, 2003

NEW ORLEANS - A drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico collapsed Thursday, dumping more than 40 workers into the water before they were rescued.

The Coast Guard said all 41 people on the rig went into the water off the Chandeleur Islands near the Louisiana and Mississippi coast.

Vessels in the area quickly rescued most of them, and two were picked up by Coast Guard helicopters and flown to a Gulfport, Miss., hospital, Lt. Rob Wyman said.

"It looks like everyone on the rig has been accounted for," Wyman said. "We did receive reports of injuries. We don't have any reports of the extent of the injuries."

The cause of the rig's collapse, about 28 miles south of Horn Island, Miss., was not known. Wyman said there were no reports of pollution.

The rig is owned by Parker Drilling USA. A spokesman for Parker Drilling did not return calls seeking comment Thursday evening.

The jackup rig - a combination of a rig and barge - has three legs that can be lowered to a stationary position on the seabed; then with continued jacking, the barge and rig are lifted out of the water into working position.

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