33 Azerbaijan Oil Rig Workers Rescued

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -- Thirty-three workers were evacuated Saturday from a burning oil platform in the Caspian Sea owned by Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR, the rescue operation headquarters said.

No information was available from the company or the rescue operation about how many workers remained on the rig or whether any had been killed or injured.

The SOCAR platform in the Guneshli oil field rig caught fire Friday evening when the company said a gas line was damaged in heavy winds. The stormy weather and high waves made it difficult to extinguish the flames and evacuate the workers.

The company said Friday that all workers had been moved away from the area that was on fire, with all or most of them taking shelter in two lifeboats attached to the platform.

A SOCAR representative declined Saturday to say how many workers were on the platform when the fire broke out.

(KA)