6 oil workers rescued in Gulf of Mexico are stable

AP News
Posted: Sep 12, 2011 10:25 PM
6 oil workers rescued in Gulf of Mexico are stable

Six oil workers who were rescued alive after floating for three days in the Gulf of Mexico are stable and conscious, though suffering from bumps and bruises and sunburnt after weathering a tropical storm, a doctor overseeing their treatment said Monday.

All were transferred from a hospital run by Mexico's state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, to a private clinic, according to Dr. Liliana Santana.

One survivor transferred in a wheelchair was asked how he was feeling, and he responded, "Good."

A Pemex official also said Bangladeshi oil worker Kham Nadimuzzaman died in the hospital after being rescued. Two other workers were found dead, and rescue crews continued the search for the last of the 10 workers.

The official could not be named because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. Authorities have not given a cause of death or identified the bodies.

Nadimuzzaman was among 10 missing oil workers who evacuated their disabled rig Thursday in a tropical storm and escaped in an enclosed life raft. Seven of them were found alive Sunday.

Pemex identified the survivors as two U.S. citizens, Jeremy Parfait and Ted Derise, Jr., both of Louisiana; and Mexicans Ruben Martinez Velasquez, Eleaquin Lopez, Luis Escobar and Ruben Lopez Villalobos.

Martinez, who was a cook on the boat, was still nervous, unable to sleep and with trembling hands, said his uncle, Roman Cruz, 51, a bricklayer from the port city of Ciudad del Carmen. Cruz said his nephew was rescued from the water, hanging onto a raft.

"He was worried about sharks," said Cruz, who added that none appeared.

Eleaquin Lopez's brother, Edy, would only say, "Thank God he's healthy."

The workers were found 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of the Gulf state of Campeche by the ship Bourbon Artavaze and taken by helicopter to Ciudad del Carmen, where they were admitted to a Pemex regional hospital.

The fate of the other two Americans, identified previously as Louisiana residents Craig Myers and Nick Reed, was still not clear Monday.

The Mexican navy said four survivors and one of the dead were found in a boat, while three other survivors and a body were found in the water.

All were working for Houston-based Geokinetics Inc. on a liftboat owned by Trinity Liftboat Services based in New Iberia, Louisiana. All four U.S. citizens were from the New Iberia area, including Reed, who is the son of liftboat company owner Randy Reed.

The oil workers called for help Thursday afternoon in the middle of Tropical Storm Nate, which disabled their vessel, the Trinity II, a 94-foot (29-meter), 185-ton liftboat, that can lower legs to the sea floor and then elevate itself above the water level. It was being used as a recording vessel and housing for the crew, and it was in waters about 25 feet (8 meters) deep.

They abandoned the liftboat about eight miles (13 kilometers) offshore of the port of Frontera in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco.

Pemex and the Mexican navy led the search by air and sea, which intensified Saturday as the storm moved west toward the coast of Veracruz state. A dozen fishermen also disappeared aboard two shrimp boats in the Gulf during the storm Friday.

Pemex said the search for the oil workers continued with four boats, four Pemex helicopters and two airplanes making overflights.


Associated Press Writer Antonio Villegas contributed to this report.