Deadly distraction: BP officials admit effort to shut Gulf of Mexico oil well was delayed

WHO: BP

WHAT: Workers on the doomed Gulf of Mexico oil rig were distracted by multiple activities going on simultaneously and didn’t try to shut the well until 49 minutes after potentially explosive gas particles began flowing in, a BP vice president told a federal investigative panel Wednesday.

WHY: Steve Robinson, who led the team that questioned the well site leaders as part of BP’s internal probe, said that by the time the crew reacted, the hydrocarbons were already in the riser. He said they couldn’t be contained, only diverted. An explosion occurred just minutes later, killing 11 workers and leading to more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing from BP’s well a mile beneath the sea, according to government estimates.

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