Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 12:51 UK

Oil rig blaze survivors dock at Louisiana port


This injured crew member was winched to safety aboard a helicopter

A boat carrying about 100 survivors of an explosion and fire on an off-shore drilling platform off the US coast has docked in Louisiana.

A relative of one of those aboard told the Associated Press that the survivors were being examined by doctors before being reunited with their families.

The Deepwater Horizon rig, in the Gulf of Mexico, is still burning hours after the blast on Tuesday night.

The US Coast Guard is still searching for at least 11 missing oil workers.

Meanwhile, fire boats are still battling the blaze on the rig, which is reportedly tilting about 70 degrees and threatening to topple over.

No warning signs

Dana Eugene, whose brother Kevin Eugene was aboard the rescue ship, said that several familes were waiting for their loved ones at Port Fourchon.

Deepwater Horizon oil rig on fire off Louisiana on 21 April 2010
Designated a semi-submersible drilling unit
Built in 2001 by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard
Size: 396ft (120m) long by 256ft (78m) wide
Designed to operate in water depths of up to 8,000ft

More families are at a hotel in the city of New Orleans, where the survivors are expected to be taken once they are given the all-clear by doctors.

"We just want to see them," she was quoted by AP as saying.

Seventeen of the 126 workers were evacuated by air and sea on Wednesday - three of whom were critically injured, according to coast guard officials.

The rig lies 84km (52 miles) south-east of the Louisiana port of Venice.

Its operators, Transocean, said there had been no signs of trouble before the explosion and crews had been doing routine work.

A spokesman for the Switzerland-based contractor said the rig had been drilling at the time but was not in production. The cause of the blast is still unclear.

Deepwater Horizon was drilling for BP on part of the Mississippi Canyon Block 252 known as the Macondo prospect, in 1,500m (5,000ft) of water.

Built in 2001 by South Korea's Hyundai, the semi-submersible rig is 120m (396ft) long and 78m (256ft) wide, according to Transocean.

A semi-submersible rig floats above a drilling site and does not touch the sea floor.

Able to operate in up to 2,400m (8,000ft) of water, Deepwater Horizon set a world record in September for the deepest oil and gas well when it drilled down 10,685m (35,055ft) at another BP site in the Gulf of Mexico.

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