MANILA, Philippines—One of the four seriously injured Filipino oil workers in Louisiana died shortly after his wife and three children arrived from Manila to see him, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said.
Avelino Tajonera, 49, a welder from Dinalupihan, Bataan, died at the Baton Rouge General Hospital from complications of major burn injuries he sustained when the oil platform that he and other Filipino workers were working on in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire on November 16, said Cuisia in a statement.
Tajonera passed away early Friday morning (Saturday in Manila) in the presence of his loved ones, said Cuisia.
“The Filipino nation joins his family in grieving over their loss,” he said.
His death brings to two the number of fatalities in the US offshore tragedy. On November 18, the body of Elroy Corporal, 42, was found close to the leg of the platform, near where the explosion occurred, in about 30 feet of water.
Rescue workers were unable to find Jerome Malagapo, 28, of Danao, Cebu, who was lost at sea.
Three other seriously injured Filipinos, whose families were also brought to Louisiana, remain hospitalized.
There were nine Filipino and five non-Filipino employees working on the oil platform at the time of the incident.
Three Filipino workers who survived the fire have been back in Manila after giving statements to federal authorities investigating the incident, said Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim of the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago.
The remains of Corporal will be sent to the Philippines on Tuesday, said Lim.
Nine of the 22 workers doing maintenance work on the non-producing platform during the fire were Filipinos working for a sub-contractor.
Rig operator Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations had a history of safety violations and US regulators warned Wednesday the Houston-based company could lose its license if it does not improve its safety performance. With Agence France-Presse
Originally posted: 5:11 am | Saturday, November 24th, 2012