Federal panel looking for information about safety culture, other issues during spill hearings

By Harry R. Weber, AP
Monday, October 4, 2010

US investigative panel meets for 5th time on spill

METAIRIE, La. — A U.S. Coast Guard official says the fact that more than 100 people escaped the Gulf of Mexico rig explosion alive is a sign that the evacuation effort went fairly well.

Capt. James Hanzalik, chief of incident response for the Coast Guard’s 8th District, told a federal investigative panel there was nothing more his agency could have done to prevent the Deepwater Horizon from sinking.

The joint panel of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Bureau of Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is trying to determine the cause of the blast and massive oil spill that followed. Of the 126 people on board the rig, 11 were killed in the blast.

Hanzalik also said the Coast Guard currently relies on oil industry partners for help in rescuing so many people from a deepwater rig.

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