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Oil platform blast off Louisiana coast claims second fatality

November 24, 2012

A welder injured in an explosion on an oil platform off the Louisiana coast two weeks ago has died -- only hours after his family had arrived at his bedside, the Philippines Embassy announced.

"We were very saddened to learn Avelino Tajonera, one of the workers injured in the Nov. 16 incident, passed away last night, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Black Elk Energy said in a statement Saturday. "We continue to work in close cooperation with government officials to understand exactly what happened in this incident."

Tajonera, 49, is the explosion's second fatality. He was working on the Black Elk Energy oil platform Nov. 16 when workers cutting through a pipe apparently ignited triggered an explosion.

The body of Ellroy Corporal, 42, was discovered in the water under the platform by divers on Nov. 17. A third worker, Jerome Malagapo, 28, is still missing. The U.S. Coast Guard halted its search for him last weekend. Nine others, including, Tajonera, were injured.

The Philippines Embassy estimated that about 15 of the 22 workers on the rig at the time of the blast were from the Philippines and working through a subcontractor Black Elk Energy had hired.

The embassy has been flying workers' families in from the Philippines to see their injured loved ones.

The platform is about 20 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La., in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal investigators are looking into the cause of the accident.

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