Blowout: The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

A Survivor Recalls His Harrowing Escape; Plus, A Former BP Insider Warns Of Another Potential Disaster

CBS All Access
This video is available on CBS All Access
His responsibility was to report to the bridge, the rig's command center.

"I'm hearing alarms. I'm hearing radio chatter, 'May day! May day! We've lost propulsion! We've lost power! We have a fire! Man overboard on the starboard forward deck,'" Williams remembered.

Williams says that, on the bridge, he watched them try to activate emergency systems. "The BOP that was supposed to protect us and keep us from the blowout obviously had failed. And now, the emergency disconnect to get us away from this fuel source has failed. We have no communications to the BOP," he explained.

"And I see one of the lifeboats in the water, and it's motoring away from the vessel. I looked at the captain and asked him. I said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'I've given the order to abandon ship,'" Williams said.

Every Sunday they had practiced lifeboat drills and the procedure for making sure everyone was accounted for. But in the panic all that went to hell. The lifeboats were leaving.

"They're leaving without you?" Pelley asked.

"They have left, without the captain and without knowing that they had everyone that had survived all this onboard. I've been left now by two lifeboats. And I look at the captain and I said, 'What do we do now? By now, the fire is not only on the derrick, it's starting to spread to the deck. At that point, there were several more explosions, large, intense explosions," Williams said.

Asked what they felt and sounded like, Williams said, "It's just take-your-breath-away type explosions, shake your body to the core explosions. Take your vision away from the percussion of the explosions."

About eight survivors were left on the rig. They dropped an inflatable raft from a crane, but with only a few survivors on the raft, it was launched, leaving Williams, another man, and a crewwoman named Andrea.

"I remember looking at Andrea and seeing that look in her eyes. She had quit. She had given up. I remember her saying, 'I'm scared.' And I said, 'It's okay to be scared. I'm scared too.' She said, 'What are we gonna do?' I said, 'We're gonna burn up. Or we're gonna jump,'" Williams remembered.

Williams estimates it was a 90-100 foot jump down.

In the middle of the night, with blood in his eyes, fire at his back and the sea ten stories below, Williams made his choice.

"I remember closing my eyes and sayin' a prayer, and asking God to tell my wife and my little girl that Daddy did everything he could and if, if I survive this, it's for a reason. I made those three steps, and I pushed off the end of the rig. And I fell for what seemed like forever. A lotta things go through your mind," he remembered.