Program Note: This story, written by CNN's Ashley Fantz, is based on an exclusive Anderson Cooper interview airing on "AC360°" Monday night at 10pm ET
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/p1012105.copy.jpg caption="Three friends were fishing 18 miles from the Deepwater Horizon on April 20 " width=300 height=169]
The three friends pointed the nose of their 31-foot boat in the direction of the best fishing, near the oil rigs off the Louisiana coast.
It was April 20, a beautiful, calm morning. They caught a netfull. Hours passed into darkness. At around 9:45 p.m., they looked out and saw what appeared, at first, like a flare. Bradley Shivers grabbed his binoculars.
"Man, this doesn't look right," he said to his buddies Scott Russell and Mark Mead.
Shivers then reached for the boat's radio to phone another rig.
But then, over the airwaves: "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! This is the Deepwater Horizon! We are on fire! We are abandoning the rig!"
Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
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