Monday, May 10, 2010

Rig Survivor: Tale of Survival, Fear, Legal Tangles

You can take many of the reports we've been given and just imagine what happened when the rig exploded and since. There are always many story lines that can be followed, we can only be witness to what's shown to us and stated by our media and others.

One of the tragic story lines, and now being finally mentioned in these tragic incidents, is the possibility of Post Traumatic Stress that may start to develop and what might cause the growth of in some of the individuals who survive.

Joseph Shapiro had a series of reports on NPR and tonight a video report and discussion with one of the survivors on the PBS News Hour.

This was an earlier report from Joseph Shapiro as to a waiver the survivors were told to fill out and sign.

Rig Survivors Felt Coerced To Sign Waivers

May 6, 2010 Hours after they had been rescued, workers who survived an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico were asked to sign form letters about what they had seen and whether they had been injured.

Lawyers for the oil rig's owner, Transocean, requested that workers who had survived the blast sign the form in the wake of the April 20 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon. This was hours before the workers had been allowed to see their families.

Now some of those survivors say they were coerced and that the forms are being used against them as they file lawsuits seeking compensation for psychiatric problems and other injuries from the blast.

"The form that they made them sign had, 'I was here when it happened, I didn't see anything.' Or 'I saw this and I was or was not hurt,' " says Steven Gordon, a Houston attorney who represents some of the survivors. Continue

Read The Waiver
"I Was On Board The Deepwater Horizon On April 20, 2010..." One page PDF.

The following two reports are from earlier today. Place the above as to what the corporate mindset, not to mention much of the countries, is as we hear little mention of those killed nor the survivors but much about the political spin by many.

First of a two part report by Joseph Shapiro for NPR

That's all that was going through my head was, 'I'm fixing to die. This is it. We're not gonna get off of here.'

- Christopher Choy

Rig Blast Survivor: 'I Thought I Was Going To Die'

May 10, 2010 Christopher Choy was one of the youngest men on the crew of the Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig leased by BP and anchored in the Gulf of Mexico. He'd finished his 12-hour shift at 11:30 in the morning on April 20. He'd had a hard time getting to sleep later that afternoon, finally nodding off at about 6 in the evening. It was less than five hours before he'd have to get up again for his next shift. Continued

Second in the two-part NPR report.

Blast Survivors Kept Isolated On Gulf For Hours

May 10, 2010 In the aftermath of last month's explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, all the survivors wanted to do was get to dry land and call their loved ones. Yet for more than 24 hours, they were told to stay on ships on the water.

One reason was that the Coast Guard wanted to get information about the explosions on the rig and what caused them. And the company that owned the oil rig Deepwater Horizon also wanted answers. Continued

Tonight,May 10, 2010, on the PBS News Hour. The show just aired on the News Hour so the transcript isn't up yet, the video of that segment is, you can visit link to view the fourteen minute segment of the show, as well as some of what was stated in the video's and the commentary from the reporter.

A loud whoosh jolted 23-year-old Chris Choy awake on the Deepwater Horizon.

Exclusive: Oil Rig Worker Shares Tale of Survival, Fear, Legal Tangles

Oil rig survivor Christopher Choy recently shared his story with the NewsHour and NPR.

"I thought somebody was outside, cleaning outside my room or something, so I just went back to sleep. And then I heard an explosion, but I didn't know it was an explosion, I just heard a loud boom."

"I was just in a panic," Choy said Saturday in Houston, sharing his story exclusively with the PBS NewsHour and National Public Radio correspondent Joe Shapiro. As a roustabout, Choy's job had many demands, including working as a fireman. But he didn't see any personnel at their fire stations.

"I saw the flames coming out of the derrick. And I knew we weren't going to put that out," Choy recalled. He eventually made it back to shore, but 11 of his colleagues never did.


Choy recounts that in the minutes after the explosions began on the rig, he and a colleague tried to rescue fellow worker Aaron Dale Burkeen, who had fallen from a crane and was trapped behind intense flames. But then the call came to abandon the rig.

{short bexcerpt of leaving behind a fellow worker}

Burkeen's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Transocean and BP, according to media reports of documents filed in state court in Galveston County, Texas.

Eventually, Choy escaped, taking refuge aboard the MV Damon B. Bankston, a cargo vessel docked at the rig, but they didn't head immediately for land --something he still doesn't understand. As the rig burned, the Bankston stayed nearby for around "six or seven hours," Choy said.

While being kept aboard the ship they had wanted to call their families, they were told they couldn't as there was only one phone but that the company would contact the families. Apparently that company statement isn't true as his wife says she didn't find out he survived until the next day when she finally got through to the company after she called them.

Choy's lawyers Steve Gordon and Jeff Seely have claimed other survivors told them attorneys were aboard the vessel, urging workers to fill out witness statements.

{short excerpt of the waiver}

The document reads: "I was not a witness to the incident requiring the evacuation, and had no firsthand or personal knowledge regarding the incident."

But the bottom of the form reads: "I was not injured as a result of the incident of the evacuation." Below that, Choy signed and initialed it.

"Physically, I didn't feel hurt at all.... You know, I figured just having the bad dreams and stuff was something that would just last a couple days and kind of fade away. And it hasn't."

The waiver document has become a point of legal contention for Choy, after his lawyer filed a claim with Transocean for reimbursement of current and future medical expenses. Transocean's attorneys responded to the formal claim with an e-mail to Choy's lawyer reading, "We were surprised to receive your letter ... in light of the attached statement executed by your client indicating that he did not sustain any injury whatsoever."

Choy now says the document he signed shouldn't count as he had "just gone through hell." Continued

They had kept these surviving rig workers out in the Gulf watching the rig burn and all of them knowing, especially Choy and the other worker who tried to save their friend, that others weren't with them and hadn't survived the devastation.

Choy has since filed a lawsuit against BP, Transocean, Halliburton and other companies associated with the rig operation. Among his claims, he blames the companies for ongoing mental anguish and is asking for compensation for future medical claims and lost wages.

Transocean declined to respond directly to Choy's claims, citing the ongoing litigation.

No comments: