Oil Spill Washing Ashore Angers Gulf Residents

Residents along the Gulf Coast worry how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will affect their lives.
Twenty five days after the drilling rig explosion, BP says it's trying again Saturday evening to siphon oil to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico through a mile-long tube. The company already tried once Friday night.

A misalignment issue set back Saturday's operation for hours, CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports.

By Sunday morning, BP hopes its latest deep-sea fix is in place.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf
Gulf Oil Spill by the Numbers

It's a narrow tube threaded a mile down to the sea floor and inserted into the gushing pipeline. That tube would act like a straw, sucking leaking oil to a surface ship, but BP's trying to keep expectations in check.

"This doesn't stop the flow, but it contains the flow," said executive Doug Suttles. "We hope to have that tube inserted by some time late tonight."

In Port Fourchon, La., southwest of New Orleans, clean-up crews had to scrape beaches and hauled away 300 trash bags filled with tarballs that had washed ashore.

"It kind of gave you a pit in your stomach - oh lord here we go," said LaFource Parish resident Chett Chiasson.

As more oil spills onto the coast, many people here grow more frustrated, more angry. They're afraid waves of oil coming ashore could soon kill their livelihoods.

"BP did this," said one fisherman. "They destroyed us."

With a fishing ban in place, many local fishermen are out of the water and out of patience, hoping BP will hire them for clean-up work but frustrated by BP's red-tape.

"They want us to jump through hoops like puppy dogs," the fisherman said. "We're not puppy dogs. We are commercial fishermen."

For southern Louisiana, life changed April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, and its crew scrambled for their lives.

Michael Williams was the Horizon's chief electronic technician and had to jump from the rig to save his life, he told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview to be broadcast Sunday night.

"I heard this awful hissing noise, this sssssssssss," Williams said. "I remember closing my eyes and saying a prayer and asking God to tell my wife and little girl that daddy did everything he could, and if I survive this, it's for a reason."

Now many people along Louisiana's coast worry about their community's survival.

"I like the way we live here," one Louisianan said. "I hope it doesn't have to change."

More Oil Spill Coverage

BP Was Told of Safety Issues on Another Rig
BP Hits Snag in Attempt to Siphon Oil at Leak
BP Attitude on Spill Size Called "Scandalous"
Report: Feds OK'd Oil Drilling without Permits
Oil Flow Rate Questioned as BP Tries 2nd Fix
Oil Leak Stop At Least a Week Away, BP Exec Says

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.