Aguirre, the Wrath of Petrobras

aguirre_1You can watch the film or you can read the legal brief, in which a modern-day Aguirre sues the king for sending him down a deathtrap Peruvian river. From US District Court for the Southern District of Texas comes the epic drama, “4:14-cv-02155,” starring one J Wilkerson and Petrobras America.

4.1 In February of 2013, Plaintiff was working as a mechanic at Defendant’s facility in Peru, where helicopters delivered supplies and materials in support of Defendant’s oil and gas exploration activities.

4.2 On or about February 13, 2013, when it came time for his work to end, and for Plaintiff to return to the United States, he was unable to depart via aircraft as planned, due to severe rainstorms. Consequently, Defendant provided a small aluminum boat and pilot to transport Plaintiff. The vessel was navigated through waters where there were visible trees rising out of the water, and presumably tree stumps hidden beneath the water. The vessel violently struck something in the water, which caused the vessel to flip, throwing Plaintiff into the water. Plaintiff lost consciousness, and sustained severe and disabling bodily injuries.

4.3 When he regained consciousness, Plaintiff was trapped in an air pocket under the boat. He swam out through a window, and up to the surface. He then began to float down the river. He spotted a small village and was able to make his way to the bank and up onto land. A small fishing boat, passing by, picked him up and took him to a village where he sat for hours, waiting for Defendant’s rescue boatto arrive. Defendant’s rescue boat transported Plaintiff back to Defendant’s work site from which he had departed in the aluminum boat. He was then transported by helicopter to Defendant’s main gas processing plant. From there, Plaintiff was transported by fixed wing aircraft to Lima, Peru, where he was taken by cab to a hotel. Plaintiff stayed at the hotel for roughly 6 hours, before flying by commercial airline back to the United States.

Petrobras America, the named defendant, simply says it’s never owned or operated anything in Peru, so quit bothering the poor saps. Sorry but this story doesn’t have much in the way of a cathartic conclusion. The case is ongoing in Houston.

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2 thoughts on “Aguirre, the Wrath of Petrobras

  1. Boludo Tejano

    Ah well, the adventures of working in the jungle. I recall a memo from our Houston office about a job in Guatemala, which as I used to work in Guatemala, attracted my attention. The memo went something like this: “Due to guerrilla mortar fire at the airstrip for getting to the rig, per diem may be increased by $10 a day.” The sanctity of human life, as interpreted in el campo petrolero.

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