Another Filipino dies after US oil rig fire

Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino worker who was badly burned in the November 16 oil platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has passed away, the Philippine Embassy said Saturday.

Avelino Tajonera, 49, a welder from Dinalupihan, Bataan, died a few hours after his wife and three children arrived at the Texas hospital Thursday night. 

“The Filipino nation joins his family in grieving over their loss,” Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr. said in a statement.

Tajonera’s death brings to two the number of fatalities in the explosion, as one Filipino remains to be missing and three others seriously injured. The body of Ellroy Corporal, 42, was recovered Saturday and will be repatriated Tuesday but Jerome Malagapo, 28, has not been found. 

The family members of the three injured Filipinos have arrived in Baton Rouge, Ambassador Cuisia said. 

Meanwhile, three Filipino workers who survived the fire are now back in the Philippines after providing their accounts of the incident. 

Nine of the 22 workers doing maintenance work on the non-producing platform were Filipinos working for a sub-contractor.

About nine million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the Filipino population, are abroad to work in better-paying jobs.

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. Agence France-Presse