Natural gas rig burns in Gulf of Mexico
July 25, 2013 -- Updated 0616 GMT (1416 HKT)
The Hercules 265 drilling rig sits in about 150 feet of water, officials say.
- NEW: Firefighting boats are moved out of the fire's range, BSEE says
- The blast occurs on a platform roughly 60 miles off Grand Isle, Louisiana
- Crew members hit an unexpected pocket of gas
- A Coast Guard vessel witnesses the blast late Tuesday
(CNN) -- Two firefighting boats were moved to a safe distance Wednesday as they awaited help in fighting a fire that erupted on a natural gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico, officials say.
"A third vessel equipped with firefighting capability and (an) improved monitoring system" was expected to arrive around midday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said.
A Coast Guard cutter was on hand to "assess the situation and enforce the security zone," it said, while another was on the way.
Forty-four workers were evacuated from the rig earlier Tuesday after a blowout occurred, officials said. Crew members aboard the Hercules 265, leased by Houston-based Walter Oil & Gas Corp., were preparing the well for production when they hit an unexpected pocket of gas.
No injuries were reported.
Natural gas was leaking at the site, but no oil was being released, the BSEE said after it and the Coast Guard sent flights over the rig Wednesday morning.
"There is no observed sheen on the water surface," the safety bureau said in a news release.
"As the rig fire continues, the beams supporting the derrick and rig floor have folded and have collapsed over the rig structure," which is in about 150 feet of water, it said. "Under BSEE's direction, Walter Oil & Gas has begun preparations to move a jack-up rig on location to potentially drill a relief well."
The platform, about 60 miles southwest of Grand Isle, Louisiana, exploded around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard reported. It said a Coast Guard vessel witnessed the blast.
A light sheen about a half-mile wide was initially spotted by environmental inspectors but dissipated "almost immediately," the BSEE said.
March: Relief wells, 'heavy mud' plug used in North Sea gas leak
CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Is the rapid rise of religion in China a threat to the Communist Party's rule?
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Unlike most twenty somethings starting out in New York City, Zhang Yuzhu is not scrimping to make rent.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1940 GMT (0340 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
The sights couldn't be sadder: Animals killed or suffering through war in Gaza.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
They are the faces of a community on the run. Photographer Warzer Jaff documents the plight of the Yazidis.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
A cameraman films a massive New York City subway rat charging at him and attacking him. WPIX reports.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories