Drilling rig collapses in Gulf of Mexico; all 41 people aboard believed rescued

Friday, September 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico collapsed Thursday, dumping more than 40 workers into the water before they were rescued.

Vessels in the area quickly rescued most of the 41 people who went into the water, and two were picked up by Coast Guard helicopters and flown to a Gulfport, Miss., hospital, Lt. Rob Wyman said.

``It looks like everyone on rig has been accounted for,'' he said.

The cause of the rig's collapse, about 28 miles south of Horn Island, Miss., was not known. The rig is owned by Parker Drilling USA. A company spokesman did not return calls seeking comment Thursday evening.

The jackup rig _ a combination of a rig and barge _ has three legs that can be lowered onto the seabed. The barge and rig are then jacked out of the water into working position.

The rig had 10,500 gallons of diesel fuel on board, and the accident caused a sheen about 200 yards wide and four miles long.