A Neshoba County man has been confirmed as among the 11 men dead in an oil rig explosion Tuesday night in the Gulf of Mexico after three days of search and rescue was called off, his family said.

Aaron Dale Burkeen, 37, of the Sandtown community was on duty as a crane operator at the time of the explosion.

The family was told Thursday that an extensive search was being called off today because officials had searched more that 1,900 square miles.

The authorities were hoping they could cool the rig down enough to search it Thursday, but the massive structure collapsed and sunk into the sea.

"They told the family that there is very little hope for survival," a family member said.

Burkeen was on his shift at the time of the explosion and it was his job to get every one off the rig before getting off himself, according to a family member.

Burkeen returned to the rig about a week ago.

He and wife Rhonda have two children, ages 14 and 6.

His parents are Mary and Roger Burkeen, an employee of the Neshoba County Road Department.

Ten other workers were missing from the rig that was about 50 miles southeast of Venice, La.

Seventeen workers, including three with critical injuries, were taken by helicopters to hospitals across the south Louisiana region after the Tuesday night explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which had 126 crewmembers onboard, the Coast Guard said, according to the Times-Picayune.

The rig was in almost mile-deep water in a region known as the Mississippi Canyon.