Apocalypse Now, Part II: The Stage Is Set

Scene: Deepwater Horizon, April 20, 2010. Flames spreading rapidly, power out.

Dramatis personae:

  • Capt. Curt Kuchta, on the drilling platform. He reprimanded Andrea Fleytas (see next character) for issuing a Mayday.
  • Andrea Fleytas, 23, in charge of operating the oil rig’s sophisticated navigation instruments. She issued the first Mayday calls (Just looking at this young woman’s picture:  She looks like self’s niece, dear blog readers.  And she is roughly the same age)
  • Jimmy Wayne Harrell, the “top Transocean executive” on Deepwater Horizon: maintained at a hearing this week that “a split chain of command on the platform … didn’t hinder emergency response.”  Currently not returning calls.
  • Kevin Seagal, 45, tank cleaner: Shortly after power failed, about 9:47 pm, he said, “Everything started jumping up and down and rocking us.”
  • Heber Morales, 33, on the platform deck when the trouble erupted:  Said to himself,  “Oh, man. That’s not good.”
  • Donald Vidrine, BP’s “senior person on the rig”:  Once the trouble started, he was unable to “go to the drilling floor and evaluate the situation …  ”  Currently “unavailable to comment.”
  • Jason Anderson, 35, in charge of “supervising the crew on the oil platform’s drilling floor” :  He “tried to divert gas away from the rig by closing ‘the bag,’ a thick membrane that surrounds a key part of the drill mechanism.  That didn’t work.”
  • Stephen Curtis, 40-year-old assistant driller:  He informed the rig’s senior “tool-pusher” that “methane was surging into the well and workers were on the verge of losing control.”

All information courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, Friday, 28 May 2010 (article by Douglas A. Blackmon, Vanessa O’Connell, Alexandra Berzon, and Ana Campoy, page A6).

This is damn fine reporting, dear blog readers.  The whole reads like the most riveting piece of Greek drama.

Go and grab your copy of the paper. Grab it now.

*          *          *          *

Self was watching CBS News around 5 p.m., and a local resident took a reporter to a pelican nesting ground.  The birds were alive.  From a distance the scene looked undisturbed.  But, up close, oil was coating the birds’ feathers, and their bellies were distended from having ingested oil.  How long can they live like that?  Not, self thinks, very long, before the oil they’re ingesting starts to poison them.

Stay tuned.

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