Workers on the exploding Deepwater Horizon were cut down by shrapnel, slammed into walls, and swallowed by fireballs, according to a hellish account of the last minutes of the doomed oil rig in the New York Times today. "Dazed and battered survivors, half-naked and dripping in highly combustible gas, crawled inch by inch in pitch darkness, willing themselves to the lifeboat deck," write reporters David Barstow, David Rohde, and Stephanie Saul in an extensive report, gleaned from worker interviews and testimony, maintenance records, and communications. "It was no better there," where searing heat convinced crew members they were going to be "cooked alive."
Most scrutiny of the tragedy has focused on the cause of the Deepwater blowout, and less on the following explosion of the Macondo well beneath, which killed 11 people, notes the Times. From the Times report: "What emerges is a stark and singular fact: crew members died and suffered terrible injuries because every one of the Horizon’s defenses failed on April 20. Some were deployed but did not work. Some were activated too late, after they had almost certainly been damaged by fire or explosions. Some were never deployed at all." Click for BP's internal report.