Oil Spill Hearing Continues in Houston

A panel of federal investigators continues to hear testimony about the events that caused the BP oil spill. The hearing has been going on all week near Hobby Airport and is supposed to wrap up tomorrow. Bill Stamps has more.

What caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that led to the biggest oil spill in American history? That’s what a panel of investigators have been trying to find out all week in Houston. They’ve been listening to testimony from executives as well as people who worked on the rig.

“When the captain said ‘what is that’ and went to the front of the bridge towards the bow to look out did you have a heightened since of concern?

Answer: “Yes, it didn’t feel right. I mean there was a split second where you thought it was a boat potentially up against us.

“And then there was a point at which you heard the first of possibly two explosions?”

Attorney Steve Gordon is representing Douglas Brown, one of the workers who was injured in the explosion. Although Brown’s lawsuit will be heard in Louisiana, Gordon is learning facts about the case at this week’s hearing.

“If you can just imagine for a moment to be almost on a football-sized square platform and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and there’s explosions similar to shock and awe, similar to what we had in Iran and that’s what happened.”

Gordon says the hearings show there was negligence and incompetence by several parties.

“We know now that there was complete chaos basically on the bridge. Nobody knew who was in control.  The captain didn’t know how to exercise usage of the emergency disconnect system. It was a mess.”

Coast Guard Lt Sue Kerver says the hearings are simply to get the facts.

“What happens is they develop conclusions and recommendations and they put that together in a final report, which is submitted up to Coast Guard headquarters and to the BOEM headquarters. And they take a look at that and the recommendations and conclusions are made public.”

She says once the facts are brought out the Justice Department can decide if it wants to bring criminal charges. Bill Stamps KUHF News.