"An oil and natural gas production platform exploded in flames Thursday morning, sending 13 workers on board plunging into the Gulf of Mexico and touching raw nerves about the safety of offshore energy operations in the wake of the BP spill.
But none of the 13 workers sustained serious injury, and by the end of the day Thursday, it appeared catastrophe had been averted and that early comparisons to BP's April 20 disaster were unjustified.
A passing service helicopter noticed a large fire on Mariner Energy's Platform A in Vermilion Block 380, 102 miles off the Louisiana coast, at 9:19 a.m. The cause of the explosion was unknown, but Mariner Energy said in a statement that the crew was able to shut all seven oil and gas wells that fed the production operation.
The Coast Guard is investigating to find out how the fire started. Gov. Bobby Jindal said at a news conference in Houma that 100 barrels of crude oil stored on the platform burned for about four hours Thursday morning."