A tugboat pushing two barges hit an offshore natural gas pipeline, causing an explosion that killed three people, left three missing and sent flames shooting 30 meters high, the Coast Guard said.
The tug and barges hit the gas line at about 12:30 p.m. in West Cote Blanche Bay, about 3 kilometers from shore and about 60 kilometers southwest of New Orleans, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyx Cangemi.
The tug boat had two people on it, and six people were on the barge, Cangemi said. Coast Guard rescue crews recovered three bodies and two survivors. Three people remained missing.
One survivor was severely burned and taken to a hospital, said a Coast Guard spokeswoman, Veronica Bandrowsky, said. The other person was not injured, she said.