Bart brings to our attention this transcript of a radio interview with a guy said to have been on the scene when the Gulf oil rig blew. He certainly sounds like a guy who knows what he’s talking about; you may get a bit bogged down in the technical details. But it’s there if you’re curious. An excerpt:
James: Well obviously, the gas blew the sea water out of the riser, once it displaced all of the sea water, the gas began to spill out on the deck and up through the center of the rig floor. The rig, you have to imagine a rectangle, about 400 feet by 300 feet, with the derrick and the rig floor sitting directly in the center. As this gas is now heavier than air, it starts to settle in different places. From that point, something ignited the gas, which would have caused the first major explosion.
Mark: Now, what might ignite the gas, do you know?
James: Any number of things, Mark. All rig floor equipment is what they consider intrinsically safe, meaning it cannot generate a spark, so that these types of accidents cannot occur. However, as much gas that came out as fast as it did, it would have spilled over the entire rig fairly rapidly, you know, within a minute. I would think that the entire rig would be enveloped in gas. Now a lot of this stuff, you can’t smell, you can’t taste it, it’s just there, and it’s heavier than oxygen. As it settled in, it could have made it to a space that wasn’t intrinsically safe. Something as simple as static electricity could have ignited the first explosion, which set off a series of explosions.
Mark: Alright, so what happened? You’re standing where? You’re sitting somewhere? What happened?
James: Well, I was in a location that was a pretty good ways from the initial blast. I wasn’t affected by the blast. I was able to make it out and get up forward where the life boats were. The PA system was still working. There was an announcement overhead that this was NOT a drill. Obviously, we have fire drills every single week to prepare for emergencies like this (fire and abandonment drills). Over the intercom came the order to report to life boats one and two, that this was not a drill, that there is a fire, and we proceeded that way.
Mark: So, the eleven men who died, were they friends of yours?
James: Yes sir, they were….
Bart says, “Suggest you read it and hopefully, we try to put the accident into proper perspective, not become another political event for the uninformed.”