Final Hours Of The Deepwater Horizon – Why Did It Sink?

Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drill rig sinking in the Gulf of Mexico, April 22, 2010, following blowout of BP’s Macondo well. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

The New York Times has published a detailed, harrowing account of the what it was like to be onboard the doomed Deepwater Horizon drill rig when the Macondo well blew out on the night of April 20, triggering a series of explosions that ignited an inferno and killed 11 men. One survivor tells his story on an accompanying video. A slide show includes new photos of the burning rig taken by a worker on a nearby boat in the final hours before the Deepwater Horizon sank into the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, initiating the biggest accidental oil spill in history.

This in-depth investigative piece also examines why the rig succumbed, despite the many safety systems onboard designed to prevent injury and protect the rig in the event of a catastrophic blowout:

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.”


Deepwater Horizon rig capsized and moments away from slipping beneath the waves in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, 2010. One of the thrusters used to keep the rig on station is visible. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.