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Offshore rig explodes in the Caspian Sea

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev declares day of mourning

CNN  — 

An oil rig explosion in the Caspian Sea has killed at least one person. Twenty-nine others are missing, according to Azerbaijan’s state news agency, Azertac.

An offshore oil platform operated by SOCAR, Azerbaijan’s state oil company, caught fire Friday. Sixty-three people were on the platform at the time, according to the first vice president of SOCAR, Khoshbakht Yusifzade.

“For now, 29 people are considered missing,” he said during a news conference.

There were four boats that can hold 42 people on the platform.

“Two boats were not used. Three people who were in a boat that fell into the sea were rescued. The body of one man was found,” said another company official, Xaliq Mammadov.

It took six attempts by helicopters to land and rescue three people on the burning platform and 27 others who were in the boat, according to a release on the Azertac website.

On its website, SOCAR said 31 workers were hospitalized, including one person who was admitted to a burn unit.

President Ilham Aliyev has declared Sunday a day of mourning for those who died in the “incident on platform No. 10 in Gunashli oil field,” the agency reports.

Susanna Capelouto contributed to this story