MEXICO CITY – At least 18 oil workers were killed when a drilling rig hit an oil platform in stormy weather, spilling gas and oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the state-owned oil company said Wednesday. Seven workers were still missing.
Rescuers have pulled 61 oil workers from storm-tossed waters but have yet to control the oil leak, Mexico’s oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said in a news release.
The workers killed included four Pemex employees, seven employees of the subcontractor company that operated the rig, at least one rescue boat crew member, and six others who worked for other companies, Pemex said. One woman was among the dead.
Pemex said the gas and oil leak was continuing Wednesday but that it was not immediately clear how much had spilled.
It said it had dispatched repair teams and would send more when weather permits.
The company said 81 workers and five rescue personnel abandoned an Usumacinta drilling rig Tuesday after it hit the Kab 101 light-production platform amid 25-foot waves and winds gusting to 80 mph.
The Usumacinta, a mobile, self-raising drilling rig, was set up next to Kab 101, preparing to drill a well close to the platform. The waves caused one of the rig’s “legs” to hit the valve assembly of the platform, leading to the leaks.