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point as they prepared to go into the platform on either the third or fourth rescue run, Haffey shouted above the fire's roar: "I hope God is looking after us tonight. "SOMETIME, possibly after 11:30pm, McNeill's luck simultaneously gave out and yet held tight. The boat had just picked up three more survivors and was moving about 100 yards off the platform when he felt a strong underwater rumble. He shouted at the crew to get down and lie with their full weight on top of the survivors to protect them and as they did the entire craft was thrown into the air. They had been sailing over a gas pipeline which had cracked, firing a bubble of high pressured gas up and under the boat, splitting the hull beneath McNeill's feet. The pressurised gas shot up through the split and into McNeill's face, singeing off his lower eye Air Force One White And Black
lashes and burning the bags under his eyes, a sensation he described as like "having hot sand thrown in your face". A gas bubble expanding up through the sea displaces the water, reducing buoyancy and forming a hole into which a craft will drop. Why the craft didn't sink, McNeill never knew but, instead, he managed to force the throttle and the craft skipped on.
the night, doubt never once washed over McNeill, who was fuelled by adrenaline, at the wheel of a craft he would later describe as "the most beautiful boat". He felt unstoppable. As the HT24, the Silver Pit's fast rescue craft, was driven by water jets and had no outboard engine or propeller to snag on debris, he was able to leap over large chunks of material by throttling down and utilising them as aquatic ramps.
The engine, while still running, was losing power and the sea was beginning to seep through the splits in the hull and pool around McNeill's boots. In a few minutes it had already risen above his ankles. The boat had come to rest about 60 feet from the platform. The crew could see the state of collapse. On previous rescue trips, the fire had run along the underside of the platform, this underside had collapsed, sinking down into the water, the high empty space replaced by a tangle of twisted metal. When McNeill looked at the twin flares he thought he could see the metal melt and roll down the steel arms like lava. Then they spotted a hand. The crew glimpsed u.
hands as soon as he surfaced from his long sink. Among the most disturbing sights was a survivor floating on a piece of debris wearing only the elasticated trim round what had been the waistband of his underpants, which, along with every other stitch, had been blown or burned off. He was hauled onboard and McNeill saw that the skin from his arm and hand had peeled off and was dangling down like a lady's evening glove. When rescued men were desperately cold they were placed up against the craft's engines and repeatedly questioned to keep them awake. Haffey spotted one of the luckiest survivors. He had already Air Force One Low sunk down a couple of times and had submerged once more when the craft reached the spot allowing Haffey to reach under the water and haul him up by his hair. During Air Force 1 Best Shoes
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