The following is the text of a news release from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE):
(WASHINGTON) — The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard are continuing the investigation into the Oct. 20 death in the Gulf of Mexico of Sam Whitley, a Pacific Drilling offshore worker. The fatality took place on the Pacific Drilling drillship Santa Ana during initial drilling operations for Chevron USA.
"My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Sam Whitley," said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. "Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. We are committed to determining the direct and indirect causes of this incident."
BSEE Gulf of Mexico Region Director Lars Herbst has formally established an investigative panel. The five-member panel is comprised of BSEE investigators, an engineer, and a U.S. Coast Guard member. The panel will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident in order to identify the causes and any contributing issues that led to the death of Whitley. The panel will make recommendations in the final report on how to strengthen implementation of existing safety and environmental management systems and any necessary reforms to existing regulations. The focus of these recommendations is to prevent a similar incident from occurring.
Editor's note: Whitley was from Hope, Maine. He is survived by his wife and three children.