Filipino dies of burns from US oil rig fire

A Filipino worker who was badly burned in an explosion on a oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico last week has died from his injuries, the Philippines embassy said Friday.

His death brings the toll from the November 16 blast off the coast of Louisiana to three, all of whom were Filipinos.

Welder Avelino Tajonera, 49, died a few hours after his wife and three children arrived at the Texas hospital Thursday night.

"The Filipino nation joins his family in grieving over their loss," Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia, Jr. said in a statement.

The body of Ellroy Corporal, 42, was recovered Saturday and will be repatriated Tuesday. Rescue workers were unable to find Jerome Malagapo, 28, who was lost at sea.

Nine of the 22 workers doing maintenance work on the non-producing platform were Filipinos working for a sub-contractor.

About nine million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the Philippines population, are abroad to work in better-paying jobs than they can get in their largely impoverished homeland.

Rig operator Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations had a history of safety violations and US regulators warned Wednesday the Houston-based company could lose its license if it does not improve its safety performance.

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