US coast guards are searching the Gulf of Mexico for at least 11 oil workers missing after an explosion on a drilling platform.

The rig was still burning hours after the blast on Tuesday night, 52 miles (84km) southeast of the Louisiana port of Venice, according to local reports.

Workers evacuated the Deepwater Horizon, a semi-submersible rig operated by Swiss-based contractor Transocean, after the blast.

There have been conflicting reports about the exact number of workers missing, believed to be in the range of 11 to 15, reports the BBC.

Seven injured workers have been airlifted to nearby hospitals.

There are believed to have been 126 workers aboard the rig at the time of the blast.