The body of the missing Filipino worker, who disappeared after the November 16 explosion on the West Delta 32 offshore oil platform, has been recovered. This brings the accident's death toll up to three.
The body has been identified as 28-year-old Jerome Malagapo. Dental records from the Philippines were used to help ID the man. The body was discovered by workers on a supply ship, 2.5 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
In the wake of the accident, three workers remain hospitalized, two of which are in critical condition. This accident has been deemed the deadliest since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion which killed 11 and resulted in the worst offshore oil spill in the history of the United States.
The West Delta 32 fire has been a hard hit on the Philippine Embassy and country of Philippines as nine of the 22 workers on board the platform were Filipino. The workers were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. to refurbish the Black Elk platform.
Federal authorities continue to investigate the cause of the accident in order to determine fault but the Philippine Embassy insists that the injured/deceased Filipino workers were not the ones at fault.
The first fatality discovered was Ellroy Corporal, whose body was found shortly after the accident. The second fatality was Avelino L. Tajonera who died after sustaining serious burn injuries. Tajonera was one of the two workers initially listed in critical condition.
Following the death of Tajonera, Black Elk issued the following statement, "We continue to work in close cooperation with government officials to understand exactly what happened in this incident." The body of Malagapo was recovered three days after Tajonera passed away.
The Philippines ambassador said, "We are deeply saddened to learn that we lost our kababayan, Jerome Malagapo… We console ourselves with the thought that Jerome has been found and will be reunited with his loved ones."
The victims of the blast were among an estimated 162 fitters, scaffolders, riggers and welders that were hired in the Philippines to work on offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The survivors of the fire arrived back in the Philippines last week. Philippine diplomats are coordinating with employer D&R Resources, the hospitals and Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. to provide these survivors with the care they need.
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