Gonzales man lost in oil rig explosion

Staff reports

A Gonzales man, Blair Manuel, is one of the crew members among the 11 missing from the Deepwater Horizon fire and explosion April 20, according to published reports.

Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling oil rig was working 41 miles offshore Louisiana on Mississippi Canyon block 252 where it sank after the explosion.

Of the 126-member crew, 115 were evacuated safely and four were critically injured.

Manuel, 57, was early into his two-week shift on the rig when the explosion occurred, according to reports.

Manuel was employed as a chemical engineer with M-I SWACO for the past ten years. He reportedly has a brother who also works for the same Houston-based company.

The U.S. Coast Guard searched continuously for the 11 missing crew members for three days by air and water before suspending the search on Friday, with those missing presumed dead.

As much as 1,000 barrels of crude has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico daily since the explosion. According to reports Monday, the oil spill had grown to cover approximately 600 square miles.