Azeri oil rig fire: Rescue bid as 30 workers missing

Media caption,
Footage filmed from a helicopter shows the scale of the fire

At least one oil worker is dead and 30 are missing after a platform in the Caspian Sea caught fire in a storm, the office of President Ilham Aliyev says.

State oil company Socar told the BBC that 63 workers had been on the Guneshli platform at the time and that 32 had been rescued so far.

The firm said the fire began after a storm on Friday evening damaged a gas line.

The storm has hampered efforts to control the fire and rescue workers.

President Aliyev has set up a commission to investigate the incident, to be chaired by Prime Minister Artur Rasizada, the website reported.

Azerbaijan's Oil Workers' Rights Protection Committee said that about 40 oil workers had tried to board a life raft attached to the platform but that the raft ruptured and a number of them fell into the sea.

Socar has not confirmed this account.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The fire is believed to have been started by a damaged gas line

During the same storm, three workers went missing from another offshore oil platform in the Caspian Sea, Socar said.

Azerbaijan, which borders Russia and Iran, is a major energy producer in the region and up to 80% of its oil production comes from the Guneshli field.