Athens man presumed dead in oil rig explosion

Posted by : admin | On : October 19, 2017

Timothy Morrison
The News Staff Reports
NEW ORLEANS–The search for a missing Athens man has been called off following the oil and gas platform explosion on Lake Pontchartrain Sunday night. A memorial service for Timothy Morrison, 44, is set to follow a visitation at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 405 E. Corsicana St. in Athens Sunday, Oct. 22. His mother, Janie Cole, of Cole Air Conditioning and Appliance Co. said her son, last living in Katy, was working as a subcontractor on the structure when it caught fire and exploded.
The Coast Guard reported the fire aboard the platform was out by midday. Cmdr. Zac Ford stated that making the decision to suspend the search “is never an easy one.”
In all, five of the injured were hospitalized with serious injuries, including burns and two people were reported in critical condition.
The platform, owned by Clovelly Oil exploded while maintenance work was being performed, according to a press release. A fireball lit up the night sky and shook lakeside properties.
The platform sustained heavy structural damage and is a storage and accumulation point for oil and gas from a number of wells. Four wells that feed into the platform were drilled in the 1970s and are all in the lake. Three of which were shut down at the time of the explosion and the fourth was successfully shut down shortly after the explosion, Clovelly Oil reported.
A brackish tidal basin, the 630-square mile lake also is fed by fresh water rivers and streams in 16 Louisiana parishes and four Mississippi counties.
The U.S. Geological Survey describes it as one of America‘s largest estuaries, home to oysters, crabs and saltwater fish. The lake is not a source of drinking water.