NEW ORLEANS — A body found in the Gulf of Mexico near Grand Isle has been identified as a Filipino worker missing since a Nov. 16 oil platform fire.
Lafourche Parish Coroner Dr. John King said Wednesday the person is Jerome Malagapo, 28.
Malagapo who hails from Danao City in Cebu province had been working for Grand Isle Shipyard aboard a platform operated by Black Elk Energy.
King said identification of the body pulled from the water Monday was made from dental records. More investigation is needed to determine cause of death.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that we lost our kababayan, Jerome Malagapo,” Jose Cuisia, Philippine ambassador to the US, said.
Malapago is survived by her wife Joanne Matiga and two children. Relatives in Danao City said he reported for work in the US just last October.
Cuisia had also personally informed Malagapo’s wife; his father, Francisco; and other members of the family of the positive identification based on dental records submitted on Tuesday night from the Philippines.
Malagapo’s death brings to three the number of fatalities in the US offshore tragedy. His body’s recovery came three days after fellow worker Avelino Tajonera, a 49-year-old welder from Bataan, died as a result of complications from the serious burns he sustained in the incident. On November 18, the body of Elroy Corporal, 42, was found close to the leg of the platform, near where the explosion occurred, in about 30 feet of water.
The body was spotted near an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, about 20 miles from the ill-fated platform that he and eight other Filipinos were working on, Cuisia said. There were nine Filipino and five non-Filipino employees working on the oil platform when it caught fire on November 16.
Meanwhile, three other seriously injured Filipinos, whose families were also brought to Louisiana, remain hospitalized.
He said Deputy Consul General Orontes Castro Jr. and Welfare Officer Saul de Vries were in constant coordination with hospital officials, the employer D&R Resources and the contractor Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. /AP and Inquirer.net