The Human Toll of the Oil Spill

For 25 years Charter fishing captain Allen Kruse made a living doing what he loved. But as he explained in an interview six weeks ago, the oil spill took it all away, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

"The day that oil entered the Gulf, my phone quit ringing," said Kruse on May 13. "We don't know what's going on, we can't plan, we don't' know what to tell our customers."

Kruse went to work for BP two weeks ago. Wednesday morning he reported in, boarded his boat, then shot and killed himself in the captain's bridge.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf
Apparent Suicide May Add to Oil Spill's Toll


This is a man who was known to be very independent, self sufficient and proud.

Frank Kruse is Allen's twin brother. He says Allen was stressed and depressed, tangled in BP bureaucracy over claims and the cleanup.

"Tracy, his wife, estimated he'd lost 30 pounds since this started, he'd not been sleeping, he was constantly worried about his livelihood and what was happening to his Gulf," Frank Kruse said.

In the past two weeks calls to crisis hotlines in Louisiana have jumped from 400 on June 7 to more than 2,400 today - they are anxious, depressed, afraid.

People here pride themselves on being tough. In six years they've survived a recession and two hurricanes. The spill is worse than any storm.

"It comes, it passes, we start to rebuild, there's hope for the future, but this continually drags on," said Ben Fairey, a friend of Allen Kruse. "There's a shot of oil on the beach, it gets cleaned up and then there's another one."

And the fear keeps spreading. Tarballs washed up in Destin, Fla., as well as Pensacola, where cleanup crews replaced the tourists the local economy relies on.

Fellow fishermen want the death of Allen Kruse to have meaning. to show the rest of the world how much they're losing and hurting. Kruse left behind a wife, two grown daughters, two young sons and a town full of broken hearts.

BP has promised to pay for the funeral of Allen Kruse, and also for the continued use of his boat. But like so many people here, the family is skeptical of BP promises.

More on the Disaster in the Gulf:
Gov't Says It's Complying with Moratorium Ruling
BP's Dudley Takes over as Point Man in Gulf
Tough Questions Confront Gulf Spill Claims Czar
White House Seeks New Oil Drilling Ban
Salazar Seeks to Re-impose Drilling Moratorium
Sources: Gov't Report Says Subsea Oil a Problem
Judge Who Tossed Drilling Ban an Oil Investor
Judge Blocks Offshore Drilling Moratorium
BP CEO's Stand-In Heckled at Oil Meeting
Sea Turtles Swimming Into Big Trouble
What Stops Oil Spills on Other Rigs?

  • Kelly Cobiella

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