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Sep 23rd
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Second Filipino-American Oil-Rig Victim Dies; Another Filipino Worker Still Missing
Second Filipino-American Oil-Rig Victim Dies; Another Filipino Worker Still Missing PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 25 November 2012 16:15




(© 2012 Journal Group Link International)

C HICAGO (jGLi) – The Baton Rouge General Hospital and its
Regional Burn Center in Louisiana announced Friday (Nov. 23) that one of the four Filipino oil workers seriously injured in the explosion and fire that struck the oil platform they were on in the Gulf of Mexico last week has died. The explosion and fire took place 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana.

The hospital announced in its website that “(w)ith heavy hearts, the hospital announced today the passing of Avelino L. Tajonera due to complications from major burn injuries. Tajonera had been in critical condition since Friday (Nov. 16).”

Tajonera’s death brings to two the number of fatalities in the November 16 explosion and fire that also left three other Filipinos seriously injured and one missing. Ellroy Corporal, 42, died on the spot while Jerome Malagapo, 28, is still missing.
“Our hearts remain with the Tajonera family, and all the loved ones and fellow countrymen of this brave man. We are all deeply saddened by this loss,” noted Dr. Floyd Roberts, Chief Medical Officer.

Currently, two patients are in critical condition; the fourth patient, Wilberto Ilagan, 50, remains in serious but stable condition.
The treatment for major burns extends for a critical time period following the injury, and is not unexpected to follow a longer course, with the clinical focus surrounding maintaining the airways, IV fluid hydration, nutritional support, and local wound care. Other critical services include occupational and physical therapy, pastoral care and surgical care, the Burn center press statement concluded.
M eanwhile, the Houston, Texas-based Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC, which owns the company’s platform at West Delta 32 Block, in a statement, said, “We were very saddened to learn Avelino Tajonera, one of the workers injured in the Nov. 16, 2012 incident, (had) passed away last night, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We continue to work in close cooperation with government officials to understand exactly what happened in this incident.”

Last Tuesday, Nov. 20, Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations said, “Based on the advice and counsel of search rescue experts who have been engaged in this effort since the outset, … it will suspend formal search and rescue efforts (for the missing Filipino worker) after more than 100 hours.

“In conducting a thorough and robust search effort, Black Elk worked closely with the state and federal agencies, including Plaquemines Parish, United States Coast Guard, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement as well as private industry experts.

“The search encompassed more than 1,400 square miles of Gulf waters thru the efforts of three commercial dive boats; search and rescue dogs; beach and near shore searches and several helicopter companies that fly in support of surface search efforts. We also completed a perimeter search surrounding the platforms up to and extending 150’ outward.”

Meanwhile, in a press statement, “The (Philippine) Embassy has been informed of the sad news that one of our kababayans (Filipino countrymen) injured in the November 16 incident in the Gulf of Mexico, Avelino L. Tajonera, (who) passed away early this morning in the presence of his loved ones,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said. “The Filipino nation joins his family in grieving over their loss.”
A press release from the Embassy said Tajonera passed away shortly after the arrival of his widow and three children from
Manila. The cause of death of Tajonera, a welder from Dinalupihan, Bataan
, was not immediately known.
Ambassador Cuisia said he was informed of Tajonera’s death by Randolf Malagapo, Executive Manager of the US-based D&R Resources, which hired him and the other injured Filipinos to work in
’s offshore oil and gas industry.
Malagapo informed the Embassy that the members of Tajonera’s family were able to see him at the Regional Burn Unit of the
Baton Rouge General Hospital shortly after they arrived from the Philippines
on Thursday evening. He passed away a few hours later.
Both Ambassador Cuisia and Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim of the Philippine Consulate General in
have expressed their condolences to the family of Tajonera. They assured the family that the Philippine Government will extend any assistance they may require. 

Ambassador Cuisia said the family members of the three injured Filipinos have arrived in
Baton Rouge
and have been given access to the patients. They are being assisted by their recruiter, D&R Resources, and their employer, Grand Isle Shipyard Inc.
Consul General Herrera-Lim, at the same time, said three other Filipino workers who survived the incident are now back in Manila, after giving their accounts of the incident to federal authorities investigating the cause of the fire. He also said that the remains of Corporal will be repatriated to the
on Tuesday.

Anyone who has information on the missing worker may contact Black Elk Energy's hotline at (281) 779-8459 or Grand Isle Shipyard at (985) 475-5238. # # #


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