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Feb 12, 2015

04:42:31 GMT--Explosion - South-America - Brazil

EDIS Number: EX-20150212-46969-BRA

Date / time: 12/02/2015 04:40:51 [UTC]

Event: Explosion

Area: South-America

Country: Brazil

State/County: State of Espirito Santo

Location: [FPSO Cidade de Sao Mateus rig]

Number of Deads: 3 person(s)

Number of Injured: 10 person(s)

Number of Infected: N/A

Number of Missing: 6 person(s)

Number of Affected: N/A

Number of Evacuated: N/A

Damage level: Heavy


An explosion has ripped through a Petrobras rig off Brazil, killing three people, injuring 10 and leaving six others missing. The oil workers' union said a gas leak had caused the blast off the south-eastern coast, the latest bad news for a company mired in a huge corruption scandal involving alleged kickbacks to politicians. "Of the 74 workers on board, three did not survive their wounds and died on site," said Petrobras, the largest company in the world's seventh-largest economy. "Ten were injured and have already been taken to hospital by helicopter for medical attention. Six others have disappeared." Petrobras says the accident is now under control. No oil was spilled, the state oil regulator, the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), said. The explosion occurred at the FPSO Cidade de Sao Mateus rig - owned by Norwegian firm BW Offshore and leased by Petrobras - about 120 kilometres off the coast of the state of Espirito Santo. BW Offshore declined to comment on the incident. Flights were suspended at the airport in Vitoria, the state capital, to allow the helicopters carrying the wounded to operate unhindered. Ten ambulances were deployed to transfer the injured from the airport to various hospitals in the area, the state government said. The state health office said two people had suffered serious burns and eight had concussions. Petrobras is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal involving kickbacks to politicians that led to the resignation of its board of directors last week. Aldemir Bendine took over as chief executive from Graca Foster, who stepped down in the face of mounting market and political pressure. Investigators have said Petrobras executives colluded with construction firms to steal $5 billion from the company's financial reserves over the course of a decade, with some of the cash being paid out in bribes to politicians, including members of president Dilma Rousseff's coalition. Petrobras has also been hit hard by sliding oil prices, which fell 60 per cent between June and January.

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