A worker from the stricken Piper Alpha North Sea oil platform said Monday he reported a gas leak on the rig two days before an explosion and fire killed 166 people.
The allegation was made to London's Evening Standard newspaper by electrician Bob Ballantyne to back up similar reports by the girlfriends of two men who died in the world's worst oil rig disaster."I was working in the utilities module next door to the gas conservation module. I smelled gas and reported it to the safety department," Ballantyne told the newspaper. "This was on Monday. (The rig exploded Wednesday). They came in and told us to vacate the module until they had done a gas test on it."
After a saftey team arrived with equipment, conducted tests and reported it safe, Ballantyne was quoted as saying he was still unhappy with the situation.
"They said that (it was safe), but I wasn't happy because I could still smell a faint amount of gas. It wasn't as strong as it had been, but it was still there," he said.
Occidental Petroleum, operators of the platform acknowledged within 24 hours of the disaster that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.
Strong North Sea winds delayed Texan Paul "Red" Adair's attempts to extinguish powerful flames still ravaging oil platform, and shortly after dawn Monday, another body was found, officials said.