44 rescued from Gulf rig after natural gas blowout

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Wild well experts are expected to arrive soon at the site of a natural gas well blowing out of control in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana’s coast.

Hercules Offshore Inc. operated the drilling rig where the blowout occurred.

Jim Noe, a Hercules executive, said Tuesday evening that natural gas wells in shallow water often clog with sand, effectively snuffing themselves out. However, Noe said more aggressive action may be necessary to shut down the well and experts were expected to arrive at the site Tuesday evening to assess the situation and draw up a plan.

Authorities now say 44 four workers evacuated the rig without injury when the gas blowout occurred Tuesday morning. Earlier, they put that number at 47. There were no injuries or fires reported.