Source AP ©

55 oil workers saved, 26 still offshore after crash in Mexico

55 oil workers were rescued, but at least 26 people were still in the water a day after a drilling platform bumped into an oil derrick, letting out gas and oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

At least 26 employees of the state oil company were still either floating at sea in life rafts or were unaccounted for, Pemex spokeswoman Marta Avelar said. The company had located two rafts but its helicopters were not able to reach them because of heavy winds.

Avelar said she was unable to confirm unofficial reports that two people had died.

The company said 81 workers abandoned a subcontractor's Usumacinta platform Tuesday after it collided with the Kab 101 light-production rig amid 25-foot (8-meter) waves and winds gusting to 80 mph (130 kph).

The accident occurred about 20 miles (32 kilometers) offshore from the port of Dos Bocas in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.

The storm forced Mexico's main oil ports to close. They remained closed Wednesday morning, Pemex said.

Avelar said she did not know if the gas and oil leak was continuing Wednesday. Pemex said earlier that it had dispatched repair teams to the site and would send more as soon as weather permits.

The company said Tuesday that the collision knocked out some controls on a valve.

The Usumacinta drilling rig is owned by the Compania Perforadora Central S.A. de C.V, and operates under contract to Pemex.

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