32 Azeri workers die in fire on Caspian Sea oil platform - committee head

BAKU, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Thirty-two workers have been killed and 42 rescued from an offshore oil platform that caught fire in Azerbaijan-controlled waters in the Caspian Sea, the head of an independent committee said on Saturday.

Azeri state energy company SOCAR declined to comment.

“According to our information, 32 workers died, while 42 workers were rescued last night. ... The fire on the platform was finally extinguished,” Mirvari Gakhramanly, head of Azerbaijan’s Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Committee, told Reuters.

SOCAR said on Friday that the fire had started after a gas pipeline on the platform was damaged in heavy wind. It said rescue attempts were being complicated by a severe storm.

One worker called a Reuters correspondent from the platform and said there were 84 people trapped there. The worker did not want to be named.

SOCAR also said on Friday that workers were missing after an accident at another offshore oil platform during the storm. A search and rescue operation was under way, it added.

Fourteen workers were killed in accidents on SOCAR’s oil and gas platforms in 2014. (Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Alexander Winning and Stephen Powell)