Oil rig worker dies of injuries from Black Elk explosion in Gulf

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 23, 2012 4:21 PM

(Reuters) - One of the men burned last week in an explosion and fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico died on Friday of his injuries, an official said, bringing the confirmed death toll from the accident to two.

Avelino Tajonera, 49, a welder from the Philippines working on the Black Elk Energy rig, died in a New Orleans hospital on Friday morning, according to a statement from the Philippine Ambassador to the United States. He died shortly after his wife and three children arrived from Manila.

In the wake of the November 16 accident, which killed one other worker and left another missing, U.S. regulators ordered Black Elk to take immediate steps to improve safety at its offshore platforms.

The explosion and fire occurred when workers were welding a pipe on the deck of West Delta Block 32 platform, which sits in 56 feet of water about 17 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

The accident evoked memories of the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and triggered the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

A spokeswoman for Black Elk did not immediately return an e-mail from Reuters requesting comment.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Sandra Maler)