Worker burned in Gulf oil platform fire dies

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One of the men critically burned last week in an offshore oil platform fire died early Friday morning, according to the Philippine Embassy.

The embassy said Avelino L. Tajonera died at a Baton Rouge hospital.

The Nov. 16 explosion and fire on a production platform owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy also killed Ellroy Corporal, 42, whose body was found in the waters near the platform the following night. The search for another missing worker, identified as Jerome Malagapo, 28, was called off earlier this week.

Tajonera was among 11 workers injured, four of them critically, during the explosion and fire on the platform, located about 18 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is investigating the accident, which came after Black Elk racked up more than 300 violations over the past two years.

Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said in a statement posted on the embassy website that Tajonera’s wife and three children had arrived from Manila Thursday evening and were able to see him at Baton Rouge General Hospital hours before his death.

“The Filipino nation joins his family in grieving over their loss,” Cuisia said in the statement.

Three other men remain hospitalized, and Cuisia said their families have arrived in Baton Rouge.

Cuisia said he was informed of the death by Randolf Malagapo, executive manager of U.S.-based D&R Resources, which hired Tajonera and the other injured Filipinos to work in Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry.

Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim said three Filipino workers who survived the accident have returned to Manila.

All of the men involved in the accident were working for Grand Isle Shipyard, which had a contract with Black Elk to refurbish the platform, which was not operating at the time of the accident.