According to the AP, Oleander was sitting at a laundry room table with a friend when the lights went out. Then, there was the blast.
The Deepwater Horizon platform shuddered, debris fell from the ceiling and Benton hit the floor, as she had been trained to do. She scrambled through hallways littered with rubble, following a man in a white T-shirt.
"I could not see anything but that man. He just kept on saying 'Come this way, come that way.' It was like he was coaching me to my lifeboat, because I couldn't see," she said.She made it across the sweltering, mud-caked deck to a lifeboat — one of 115 people to safely escape the platform after the explosion a week ago. Eleven others are missing and presumed dead.
Nightmares have haunted Benton since the explosion April 20. She remembers following the man who knew his way around the platform, which is about the size of two football fields. She stumbled as he led her to the deck.
"Mud was everywhere ... This was mud that was shooting up from the well. It was oily mud, real oily," she said.
The fire made the already muggy night almost unbearable. Benton's name was checked off as she boarded a lifeboat, then there was a roll call to make sure everyone was accounted for.
"It looked like it was taking forever to get that boat in the water," she said, but "I think that's just because I was so anxious to go."