A Gulf of Mexico rig crew tried to activate their blowout preventer’s shear rams to cut a pipe and shut off the well before they were forced to flee Tuesday, sources close to the investigation told WWL-TV.

But for reasons that investigators will now try to determine, the device didn’t stem the flow of natural gas that caught fire 15 hours later and melted portions of the cantilevered jack-up rig Wednesday.

Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and...