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Community prays for missing Yorktown oil rig worker

By JR Ortega
April 22, 2010 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2010 at 11:22 p.m.

Yorktown High School principal and former football coach Trey Alexander looks through the 2005 yearbook remembering Adam Weise's senior year. Weise and 10 others are still missing after an explosion on the oil rig they were working on in the Gulf of Mexico. Alexander and the rest of the community hold out hope that Weise will be found as the Coast Guard continues searching for the missing.

YORKTOWN - A family huddled in seclusion inside its Yorktown home on Thursday. The family awaited hourly updates about Adam Weise, who went missing after Tuesday's oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana.

A search continued Thursday night for Weise and 10 other missing oil rig workers, said Guy Cantwell, a spokesman for Transocean Ltd., the company that owns the rig.

Reports Thursday night suggest the missing 11 might have been near the site of the explosion, and thus unable to evacuate, the Associated Press reported.

Weise's grandmother, Nelda Winslette, declined comment. Weise lives with his grandmother when not working on off-shore oil rigs.

The morning's somber atmosphere, which included overcast skies and drizzle, forced community members such as Yorktown High School Principal Trey Alexander close to tears.

"He was a phenomenal kid," Alexander said as he flipped through a 2005 yearbook, the book that highlights Weise's graduating year. "That's what makes it so hard."

Alexander coached Weise, who was a defensive back for the Wildcats, for two years, he said.

Alexander already notified some former teammates that No. 74 was on the oil rig and that his condition is unknown, he said.

"I was very emotional. He's the kind of kid you wished your son would grow up to be like."

Hours after the explosion rocked the oil rig, a shock wave hit this community of 2,000 people.

"The community is praying not only for his well-being but also for the others missing," said Melissa Armstrong, executive director of Western Days and who is with the Yorktown Economic Development Corp.

Armstrong said she did not know Weise well, but he had volunteered to help with the Western Days festival in October, she said.

"He was sweet, nice and very helpful," she said.

If there is one word to describe Weise's character, it would be "prankster," said Police Chief Paul Campos.

"He is a very joyful person," Weise said cracking a smile. "He got along with everyone."

Campos confirmed he spoke to Weise's grandmother and said the family grieved too much to talk about the situation.

Campos was the one who provided the family with Transocean's contact information.

"All we can do is pray that everything is going to be all right," he said as he sat at a cafe on the downtown strip. "He was a very well-liked person in this community. Everyone I've talked to hopes for the best."

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