Video: Explosion in Lake Pontchartrain

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
October 15, 2017 - 8:25 pm
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Witnesses report hearing an explosion from Lake Pontchartrain Sunday night.

"I heard a big boom," WWL's Emile Gauchet said. "Something blew up in the lake."

Kenner Police, Jefferson Parish Fire and the US Coast Guard responded.

The City of Kenner issued a statement, "Authorities on the scene report that cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform. Seven crew members were rescued and are being treated at local hospitals."

One person was listed as missing Sunday night.

The JPFD said it was an apparent rig explosion northwest of the Treasure Chest Casino.  The fire chief says they will let the oil on the storage platform burn out.  EMS says two people rescued are in stable condition at East Jefferson Hospital, but five more were seriously injured and taken the University Medical Center.

Listen to officials:

Rig Explosion News Conference.MP3

Gauchet said there were dozens of emergency units at the Williams Boat Launch.

Residents living near the lakefront report also hearing a loud noise, windows rattling and the ground shaking.

The Coast Guard reported sending a boat and helicopter to the scene.  Kenner and Jefferson were also sending boats.

Here is witness video posted to Facebook:

Jefferson Parish released the following before 10pm Sunday night:

MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATION UNDERWAY AFTER OIL RIG FIRE ON THE LAKE

JEFFERSON, LA – First responders from St. Charles Parish, Jefferson Parish, Kenner, the U.S. Coast Guard, East Jefferson General Hospital EMS and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries are working an oil rig explosion north west of Treasure Chest Casino. Reports came into the Emergency Operations center around 7:15 p.m. of fire and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain. Residents are urged to avoid the Kenner Boat Launch as rescue crews will be in the area. As of now several people have been rescued from the active fire on the rig. The rescued have been tranferred to East Jefferson.

The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation as well as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. Treasure Chest Casino will remain open and operational during these efforts.

Listen to Gauchet:

Emile Gauchet.mp3

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