Image: A fisherman removes water out from his boat
Carlos Jasso  /  Reuters
A fisherman removes water out from his boat after the passage of the Tropical Storm Nate in Gutierrez Zamora in the state of Veracruz on Sept. 11, 2011. news services
updated 9/12/2011 6:48:10 PM ET 2011-09-12T22:48:10

Three missing oil workers died and one was still missing after 10 people evacuated a disabled rig as a tropical storm hit in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday, seven workers on the rig were found alive three days after their escape, Mexico's state oil company said, but one of the men later died in the hospital, Reuters reported.

Two of the dead have yet to be identified, and rescuers are still searching for one worker who remains missing, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said in a statement.

Pemex identified the survivors as two U.S. citizens, Jeremy Parfait and Ted Derise, Jr., both of Louisiana; and Mexicans Ruben Martinez Velasquez, Eleaquin Lopez, Luis Escobar and Ruben Lopez Villalobos.

Martinez, who was a cook on the boat, was still nervous, unable to sleep and with trembling hands, said his uncle, Roman Cruz, 51, a bricklayer from the port city of Ciudad del Carmen. Cruz said his nephew was rescued from the water, hanging onto a raft.

"He was worried about sharks," said Cruz, who added that none appeared.

Eleaquin Lopez's brother, Edy, would only say, "Thank God he's healthy."

The workers were found 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of the Gulf state of Campeche by the ship Bourbon Artavaze and taken by helicopter to Ciudad del Carmen, where they were admitted to a Pemex regional hospital.

The fate of the other two Americans, identified previously as Louisiana residents Craig Myers and Nick Reed, was still not clear Monday.

They were found 51 miles off the coast of the gulf state of Campeche by the ship Bourbon Artavaze and taken by helicopter to the Campeche port city of Ciudad del Carmen, where they were admitted to a Pemex regional hospital.

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The Mexican navy said four survivors and one of the dead were found in a boat, while three other survivors and a body were found in the water.

All were working for Houston-based Geokinetics Inc. on a liftboat owned by Trinity Liftboat Services based in New Iberia, Louisiana.

All four Americans were from the New Iberia area, including Reed, who is the son of liftboat company owner Randy Reed.

Geokinetics spokeswoman Brenda Taquino could not reached for comment Sunday night.

'We're still praying'
A woman who answered the phone at Trinity Lifeboat Services said the company can't confirm details about the workers being found.

A girl who answered the telephone at the home of Ted Allen Derise Sr. said she was the sister of the rig worker but wouldn't give her name.

"It's good news to us but we're still praying for the other people," she said.

The oil workers called for help Thursday afternoon in the middle of Tropical Storm Nate, which disabled their vessel, the Trinity II, a 94-foot, 185-ton liftboat, that can lower legs to the sea floor and then elevate itself above the water level.

This one was being used as a recording vessel and housing for the crew, and it was in waters about 25 feet deep.

They abandoned the liftboat about 8 miles off shore of the port of Frontera in southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco.

Pemex and the Mexican navy led the search by air and sea, which intensified Saturday as the storm moved west toward the coast of Veracruz.

A dozen fishermen also disappeared aboard two shrimp boats on Friday in the gulf during the storm.

Pemex said the search for the oil workers continued with four boats, four Pemex helicopters and two airplanes making overflights.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


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