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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A crew member from an oil platform that sank off the Louisiana coast Thursday reported an initial explosion three hours before the rig went up in flames in a second, larger explosion, the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry told The Associated Press that according to their internal reports, the first blast was reported at 7 p.m. CDT Tuesday. Three hours later, the rig sent an emergency signal that's "like a panic button," he said.
At the same time, a nearby rig called to report the Deepwater Horizon was engulfed in flames, O'Berry said. The rig did not ask for help during the initial call, but the Coast Guard sent crews after the emergency signal came.
The Coast Guard is investigating what happened during that span.
"That three-hour window is obviously stuff being investigated - what happened during that time," O'Berry said.