Nearly 50 miles offshore at the big oil rig floating on a glassy-calm sea, a helicopter landed early on the morning of April 20, carrying four executives from BP, the oil company. The men were visiting the Deepwater Horizon to help honor the crew for its standout safety record.
The rig workers were buzzing for another reason. They were nearly done with the latest job. It had been a little tricky, but it was nothing they could not handle.
As night fell, Micah Joseph Sandell, 40, was in the small cab of his crane, three stories above the bustling deck. Two floors down from the helipad, men in red coveralls waited for dinner in a hall lined with gold safety plaques. Eugene Dewayne Moss, a 37-year-old crane operator, realized he needed to tear himself away from a movie to get ready for his overnight shift.
“I thought, Oh man, I’ve got to go,” Mr. Moss recalled. “I got up, turned my TV off.”
Seconds later, a thundering explosion rocked the rig, the beginning of a terrifying night for the men who would survive one of the most harrowing disasters in the history of the oil business.
All over the ship, men snapped into action. Sleeping workers leapt from their beds. Then came a second explosion, even louder than the first….
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