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NEW ORLEANS -- The captain of a boat that rescued 13 people who escaped an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico says the blast aboard the vessel was so sudden that they didn't have time to get in a lifeboat.

Dan Shaw from the Crystal Clear tells The Associated Press that his boat was 25 miles away when it received a distress call Thursday morning about the platform fire.

The 59-year-old captain says the workers were huddled together, holding hands in the water, where they had been for two hours. They were hungry and tired.

Shaw says the platform was in flames and there was a lot of smoke. He says he did not see any oil in the water. He says the workers did not explain what might have caused the explosion but they said painters were on board.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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