July 19th, 2010
04:24 PM ET

Field Report: Mayday! The rig is on fire!

Ismael Estrada
AC360­° Producer

Program Note: See the full interview with the three fishermen, who were first on the scene of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, tonight on AC360° at 10 pm ET.

Last week we got an email from Shelly Milam from Milam and Milam law offices in Alabama. She said she had some video and photographs from clients who were out fishing in the Gulf of Mexico the night the Deepwater Horizon exploded.

I met with their attorneys and watched cell phone video the 3 men took that night. They were the first to respond to the scene as they were on a fishing trip and happened to be 17 miles away.

Scott Russell, Mark Mead and Brad Shivers agreed to give us their video and photographs and told us about the night that they say changed their lives forever. They describe a situation where they noticed a fireball in the distance and suddenly heard mayday calls coming in saying people were abandoning the rig.

They started heading to the Deepwater Horizon knowing that people were going to need help. They were there before the Coast Guard and felt intense heat coming from the fire on the rig. They saw people hanging off rafts asking them to go search for people who were missing. They handed them their medical kits and started searching the waters surrounding the rig looking for anyone in the water.

The three men met us and interviewed with Anderson about what they saw that night and the chaos they witnessed when they first arrived.

It's a night they say they'll never forget.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Hi, disappointed that this emotional reporting ( of people 17 miles away just under 1hour at best at sea) was wrapped around the segment of the Rig explosions investigation hearings.
    For the first time you get it right this rig was owned and operated by Transocean, but your segment concentrated as usual on two BP employees summoned, 1 who begged off sick and the other who pleaded the fifth. If I were them with the unbalanced furore and haranguing of BP company as a whole that has gone on and the Media initially saying that Justice department was investigating BP only for possible criminal charges ( Holder had to correct this later, when he said it was not just BP)
    Then I do not blame any employee or director of Transocean Haliburton, Andarko BP who pleads the fifth until the criminal aspects are withdrawn.
    Having said that the Transocean guy who testified regarding repairs, he and his lawyer think he has an out somewhere. By the way BP's audit is just that. It in now way makes them responsible for Transoceans contractual failures, for repairs, or safety issues arising therefrom.

    July 20, 2010 at 1:31 am |

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