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Haysville native survives oil platform explosion

A Haysville couple breathed a sigh of relief early this morning after speaking briefly with their son, who survived a massive explosion of an oil platform off the Louisiana coast.

Billy Terrell, 31, called his parents, Louie and Betty Terrell, at 5 a.m.

"He sounded good," Louie Terrell said.

The couple had actually learned Wednesday from their son's wife that he was OK.

Billy Terrell, a computer repairman for Transocean Ltd., was on the platform when the blast occurred late Tuesday night.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and rescue plane resumed a search this morning for 11 missing workers. The burning oil platform sank into the Gulf of Mexico later in the day, the Coast Guard said.

Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said 111 workers who made it off the Deepwater Horizon safely were ashore Thursday. Seventeen were injured in the blast, including four critically.

Louie Terrell said he wasn't aware of the explosion until a sister called him about it mid-morning Wednesday.

It was a number of hours before the Terrells knew that their son survived. Louie Terrell said Billy's wife, Jennifer, kept them informed via Facebook.

Louie said Billy told him this morning he had only 10 minutes to get off the platform.

Billy and other platform workers were being reunited with family members today at a New Orleans hotel.

A total of 126 workers were onboard the rig about 50 miles of the Louisiana coast.

Adrian Rose, vice president of Transocean, said the explosion appeared to be a blowout, in which natural gas or oil forces its way up a well pipe and smashes the equipment. But precisely what went wrong is under investigation.

The rig owned by Transocean was under contract to oil giant BP and was doing exploratory work.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

For more on this story, return to Kansas.com and read Friday's Eagle.

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