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Storm Kills at Least 18 Mexican Oil Workers

At least 18 Mexican oil workers are now dead after an accident at an offshore oil drilling facility Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico.

The accident occurred when an oil drilling rig slammed into a platform during a heavy storm that caused 130 kilometer an hour winds and eight-meter high waves.

Mexico's state-owned energy company Pemex says 86 workers abandoned their drilling platforms and escaped into emergency life rafts. At least 61 people were rescued. Seven other people are missing.

The accident sent oil and natural gas spilling into the Gulf, and forced the closure of Mexico's main oil ports. Pemex officials say it will take at least five days to control the leak and clean up the spill. The company says the amount of spilled crude oil was less than previously thought.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.