Tragic accident leaves eleven men missing after an oil rig explosion on April 20. All of these men are presumed dead and their families are now coping with the deaths of their loved ones. As of May 5th, three families have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Transocean Ltd. for these deaths.
The first was filed the day after the explosion, on April 21, in the federal court in New Orleans, LA on behalf of the family of Shane Roshto. Roshto was thrown overboard during the blast and, like many, his body was never found.
On April 22, the family of Karl Kleppinger filed their wrongful death suit in Harris County, TX. Kleppinger was scheduled to be off-duty within hours of the explosion, but his family never saw him again.
A third wrongful death lawsuit was filed on May 4, by the family of Aaron Dale Burkeen. The complaint, which was filed in the state court in Galveston, TX, states that witnesses saw Burkeen trying to escape during the first blast. The family believes that he died in the second blast, but like Roshto, his body has not been found.
This third lawsuit also includes claims on behalf of three other employees who were working on the drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon. The three Louisiana men were seriously injured during the explosion and claim that after escaping the blazing rig, they waited in the waters beside the structure “for over ten hours…knowing their friends were on it.”
The third lawsuit further alleges that the rig was not seaworthy or properly maintained. It also alleges that those who oversaw operations failed to meet federal safety standards.
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All of these lawsuits name four main defendants: Transocean Ltd., who owned and operated the oil rig; Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., who were in charge of cementing the well at the time of the explosion; Cameron International Corp., the company that supplied the rig’s blowout preventers which allegedly failed during the explosion; and, of course, BP Plc., who holds the lease permitting oil drilling at that particular site.
BP has taken responsibility for the oil clean up after the explosion, which could take months and even years. Within the coming months, these companies will also be dealing with the tragic deaths and injuries of many of the employees who were on the rig.
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