Three people were killed and three others were missing after an offshore natural gas pipeline exploded when a tug pushing two barges struck it Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The tug and barges hit the gas line at about 12:30 p.m. in West Cote Blanche Bay, about 100 miles southwest of New Orleans, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Nyx Cangemi. The fire was out about 2 hours later, he said.

Cangemi said the first report of the explosion came from a man on a nearby beach.

The tug boat had two people on it and six people were on the barge, Cangemi said.

The Coast Guard sent out rescue crews and they recovered three bodies and two survivors.

Cangemi said he did not their conditions, but one was taken to a hospital.

Three people remained missing Thursday afternoon.

The names of the people were not released pending notification of next of kin.