Victim of Gulf platform explosion: "I am alive and in good health"

Victim of Gulf platform explosion:

GULF OF MEXICO - Commercial vessels spray water to extinguish a platform fire on board West Delta 32 approximately 20 miles offshore Grand Isle, La., in the Gulf of Mexico. First responders medevaced nine of the platform's 22 personnel to nearby rigs. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 18 at 7:26 PM

Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News

BATON ROUGE, La. – After a deadly explosion on a platform in the Gulf, four burn victims continue to recover at Baton Rouge General Hospital.

Two victims remain in critical condition and one victims remains in serious condition, according to hospital officials. One victim, Wilberto Ilagan, age 50, has demonstrated progress and is in fair condition, hospital officials said in a news conference Sunday morning.

All are considered to have major burns. The victims remain in the critical window of time that follows major burn injuries and are continuing on normal courses of treatment, said hospital officials.

“To my relatives, to my family, and to my country, I am alive and in good health. I am burned, but my heart and lungs are healthy,” Ilagan asked his doctor to share with the world.

Each of the four male victims are native to the Philippines and employed by Galliano-based Grand Isle Shipyard.

Baton Rouge General officials said they continue to work closely with the Grand Isle Shipyard to communicate with the victims families.

Grand Isle Shipyard was contracted to do maintenance services for Black Elk Energy, which operates the platform.

Of the 22 workers on the platform during the explosion Friday morning, 14 were either employees or subcontractors of Grand Isle Shipyard. A total of 11 workers were injured, two went missing, and nine were rescued without injury.

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of one missing worker, whose name has not been released. Another worker is still missing, but the Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday. Both the deceased and missing worker were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard.

Baton Rouge General has received hundreds of messages in support of the victims, said Dr. Flip Roberts, chief medical officer, and Dr. Jeffrey Littleton, burn surgeon and chair of the Department of Surgery.

According to Baton Rouge General, the clinical focus is now on maintaining the airways, IV fluid hydration, nutritional support, and local wound care.

“Following this critical window of time, rehabilitation and recovery could extend to both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

“The normal course for treating patients suffering major burns includes wound care, nutritional support, physical and occupational therapy and possible surgical intervention such as skin grafts,” hospital officials said in a statement.

Meanwhile, investigators are looking into what caused the explosion. Coast Gaurd officials initially said workers were using a torch to cut a pipe at the time, but Grand Isle Shipyard said that is not the case.

Since the rig was not producing oil, officials said there were minimal environmental effects.

 

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