Oil spil, photo: CBS

From CBS – 22 June 2010 – The gusher unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spew crude oil. There are no reliable estimates of how much oil is pouring into the gulf. But it comes to many millions of gallons since the catastrophic blowout. Eleven men were killed in the explosions that sank one of the most sophisticated drilling rigs in the world, the “Deepwater Horizon.”

This week Congress continues its investigation, but Capitol Hill has not heard from the man “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley met: Mike Williams, one of the last crewmembers to escape the inferno.

He says the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon had been building for weeks in a series of mishaps. The night of the disaster, he was in his workshop when he heard the rig’s engines suddenly run wild. That was the moment that explosive gas was shooting across the decks, being sucked into the engines that powered the rig’s generators.

“I hear the engines revving. The lights are glowing. I’m hearing the alarms. I mean, they’re at a constant state now. It’s just, ‘Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.’ It doesn’t stop. But even that’s starting to get drowned out by the sound of the engine increasing in speed. And my lights get so incredibly bright that they physically explode. I’m pushing my way back from the desk when my computer monitor exploded,” Williams told Pelley.

Oil spill, photo: CBS

The rig was destroyed on the night of April 20. Ironically, the end was coming only months after the rig’s greatest achievement.

Mike Williams was the chief electronics technician in charge of the rig’s computers and electrical systems. And seven months before, he had helped the crew drill the deepest oil well in history, 35,000 feet.

“It was special. There’s no way around it. Everyone was talking about it. The congratulations that were flowing around, it made you feel proud to work there,” he remembered.

Williams worked for the owner, Transocean, the largest offshore drilling company. Like its sister rigs, the Deepwater Horizon cost $350 million, rose 378 feet from bottom to top. Both advanced and safe, none of her 126 crew had been seriously injured in seven years.  Read the full story >>>