As the sun set Tuesday on the second full day of searching Lake Pontchartrain, there was still no sign of the Texas man missing since the oil and gas platform he was working on exploded Sunday evening 1½ miles off the Kenner shoreline.
While the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search of Lake Pontchartrain on Monday night, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office investigators went back onto the Clovelly Oil Co. platform Tuesday, while Kenner police scoured the lake's southern beaches on four-wheelers looking for the body of Timothy Morrison, 44, of Katy, Texas.
The JPSO also had a helicopter searching the lake, though Sheriff Joe Lopinto said high winds were making visibility in the water difficult.
Morrison, who is married with three children, was one of eight workers on the platform when an explosion ripped through the top floor about 7:18 p.m. Sunday.
Morrison's sister, Judy McPherson, told the Athens Review in Texas that the family is planning a memorial service and visitation Sunday in Athens, where Morrison formerly lived.
The Coast Guard suspended its search Monday night for a man missing after an explosion the p…
The cause of the accident is under investigation, but Clovelly said the explosion occurred during a routine cleaning of the lines that feed the platform from three separate oil wells, all of which had been shut down for the process.
Two of the flow lines had been cleaned and the third was being cleaned when the explosion occurred.
A fourth line, which comes from a natural gas well, was shut off after the explosion.
In addition to Clovelly, Houston-based Hydra Steam Generator had employees on the platform at the time as well.
Seven men were taken to hospitals after the explosion, though four have since been discharged. Two men — Alvin Kimbrel of Belle Chasse and Lawrence Dufrene of Marrero — were sent to the burn unit in Baton Rouge and are reported to be in good and serious condition, respectively.
Another man, James Bordelon of LaPlace, is at University Medical Center but the hospital is not giving out information on his condition at the request of his family.
The father of one of the discharged men, Brent Neil of Houma, said Tuesday morning said his son was “banged up” but OK. The others — Devin Billiot of Houma, Paul Phister of Mandeville and Cody Boudreaux of Chauvin — declined to comment or could not be reached.
A crew worker who went missing after an oil and gas platform explosion in Lake Pontchartrain…
Clovelly, which has hired a crisis management firm, put out a statement Tuesday asking the media not to contact family members. It also said that even though searchers have found no oil sheen on the water or along the shoreline, it has put a protective boom around the platform “out of an abundance of caution.”
Mike Ingram, who lives across the street from Dufrene, the burned worker from Marrero, described Dufrene as quiet, kind and always quick to help. He said Dufrene helped him set up a generator in his backyard in preparation for Hurricane Nate two weeks ago.
“He’s a real nice guy,” he said. “He’ll help anybody out.”