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The morning the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, a BP executive and a Transocean official argued over how to proceed with the drilling, rig survivors told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive interview.
The survivors' account paints perhaps the most detailed picture yet of what happened on the deepwater rig -- and the possible causes of the April 20 explosion.
The BP official wanted workers to replace heavy mud, used to keep the well's pressure down, with lighter seawater to help speed a process that was costing an estimated $750,000 a day and was already running five weeks late,
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the massive oil spill that has spewed as much as 798,000 gallons (19,000 barrels) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day.
The rig workers have filed a negligence suit against BP, Transocean, oil field services contractor Halliburton and other companies involved with the deepwater rig.
"I've seen gross negligence, and this conduct is criminal," said Steve Gordon, the lawyer representing the men. "There's a crime scene sitting 5,000 feet below the water."