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Fire erupts after tugboat hits natural gas pipeline off Louisiana coast

By CNN Staff
March 13, 2013 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)

(CNN) -- A tugboat pushing a barge loaded with crude oil struck a natural gas line Tuesday evening off the Louisiana coast, causing an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said.

Deano Bonano, an aide to the council chairman in nearby Jefferson Parish, said two crew members from the tugboat were hospitalized.

Bonano didn't know the extent of their injuries.

The gas pipeline, barge and tugboat were all burning, he said.

A U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said flames shot in the air as high as 1,000 feet.

CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this story.