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In the second week of a civil court trial to determine blame for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Transocean‘s senior toolpusher Randy Ezell has testified to BP‘s negligence.

On Tuesday, during the trial in a New Orleans federal court, Ezell said before Judge Carl Barbier that he is still haunted by the intensity of the rig explosion, nearly three years later.

According to 57-year old Ezell, on the night of 20 April 2010, while relaxing in his room after a day’s work, a loud explosion knocked him to the floor, left him buried in debris and killed 11 fellow workers.

He also testified that Jason Anderson, who was one of the 11 workers killed on the rig, was a "top-notch" toolpusher, who could have done everything in his control to avert the blowout, reported the Huffington Post.

Reuters has quoted Ezell as saying that there was some misunderstanding of signs of trouble before the blowout, while Transocean colleagues did everything within their authority to control the well. Ezell noted that Anderson and other BP supervisors had misinterpreted the results of a crucial safety test.

"Ezell said before Judge Carl Barbier that he is still haunted by the intensity of the rig explosion."

As part of the testimony, Ezell said that Anderson had told him during a telephone call, less than an hour before the explosion, that it was a "good test" and that there were no indications of trouble for 30 minutes after the test.

During the hearing, plaintiffs’ attorney Paul Sterbcow, who was questioning Ezell, said well data showed the first indication of a problem could have been identified at least 20 minutes before that call.

Ezell also said BP’s well site leaders on the rig were responsible for deciding how the tests were performed and interpreting the results.

In 2012, Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza, who were BP’s well site leaders on the rig, were indicted on manslaughter charges and are expecting a separate trial.

BP has accepted the company’s role in the accident, but said Transcoean and well cementing provider Halliburton should also share the blame.

The company has to prove that its errors do not meet the legal definition of gross negligence required for the highest amount of damages. At the end of the trial, if Barbier determines BP or the other defendants were grossly negligent, it could stretch liabilities into tens of billions of dollars.


Image: Ezell said Anderson and BP supervisors had misinterpreted the results of a crucial safety test. Photo courtesy of Marine Photobank.

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