An oil rig exploded Sunday night in Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish, a Louisiana police department said.
Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor said Sunday evening that rescue boats were being sent from the Kenner Boat Launch, and that officials with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office are assisting, The Times-Picayune reported .
There were “a lot of injuries,” many of them serious, with at least seven confirmed and more expected, McGregor said.
Initial reports said six people were injured and one person was missing. No additional details on the status of the injured have been given. No deaths have been reported.
Reports came into the Emergency Operations center around 7:15 p.m. of fire and smoke being seen from Lake Pontchartrain, Jefferson Parish spokesman Antwan Harris said in a news release Sunday night.
“Several people have been rescued from the active fire on the rig,” Harris said.
“Authorities on the scene report that cleaning chemicals ignited on the surface of the oil rig platform,” the City of Kenner Government posted on its Facebook page Sunday evening.
Social media users reported hearing a loud noise that even rattled some homes.
Andrew Love, 32, told the newspaper he was inside his house about 10 blocks away when he heard the explosion. “My house actually shook,” he said. “At first I thought it was a sonic boom or something, I had no idea what was happening.”
Flames could be seen from the area and the air smelled of burning rubber, according to the newspaper.
First responders from St. Charles Parish, Jefferson Parish, Kenner, the U.S. Coast Guard, East Jefferson General Hospital EMS and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries were working on the explosion, Harris said.
The Coast Guard will be conducting a water quality evaluation as well as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
Lake Pontchartrain is north of New Orleans.