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Silence on Gulf rig worker's death seems deafening

Those who have ever worked on an offshore oil platform know risk to life and limb is widespread. These operations amount to small communities at sea. But they are also essentially floating factories. If something goes wrong, as it too often does, serious injury tends to follow.

Immediate medical care is required, but the rigs are so remote it might not be available. Then, a horrible injury turns into a tragic death. Getting to the bottom of exactly what happened can prove to be a challenge, but it also may be essential for the sake of ensuring that the victim and his or her family obtain the fullest measure of compensation and recovery that may be available under the law.

This all comes to mind because of the eerie silence that exists around a rig accident this week that claimed one life. According to federal officials, it's the first fatality of this year related to drilling operations in the Gulf and there were no other injuries.

Information that has been made public is that the accident happened Tuesday morning as the rig was getting ready to drill at a site about 200 miles out from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Federal investigators and the Coast Guard are on the scene and a probe is said to be underway.

No other information has been officially released from the location. Newspapers in Maine have confirmed that the victim is a 36-year-old husband and father of three from the town of Hope. The man's mother-in-law tells reporters that his widow is now in Louisiana. But as of Thursday, there still was no word on just what happened.

Investigators need to be granted the time to do their jobs thoroughly. But victims of such accidents and their families also deserve clear explanations of what happened. Sometimes an attorney's experience can make a huge difference in ensuring transparency and appropriate accountability.

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