Husky Energy has shut down operations on a drill rig east of Newfoundland following an incident last week that a regulator says could have had a tragic outcome.

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The Henry Goodrich drill rig has been active for more than a decade in the offshore oil industry off Newfoundland. ((CBC))

Husky said a 2.4-metre cylinder was dropped aboard the rig Henry Goodrich around 3 p.m. last Thursday. The cylinder, which was part of the equipment that handles drill gear on the rig floor, was about 20 cm in diameter.

An official with the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board told The Canadian Press that if the cylinder had hit someone, "it could have caused a fatality."

The chief safety officer for the CNLOPB has been in contact with Husky about the incident.

The board says operations will not resume until it is satisfied that all safety concerns have been addressed.