Gulf Cleanup Captain Commits Suicide

Spill taking heavy emotional toll on fishing communities
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2010 4:27 AM CDT
Updated Jun 24, 2010 6:05 AM CDT
Gulf Cleanup Captain Commits Suicide
Fishing boats sit idle on the docks at Bayou La Batre, Ala.    (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

A charter boat captain hired to help with the Gulf cleanup effort killed himself on board his vessel yesterday. Allen "Rookie" Kruse had been running fishing tours from an Alabama port for more than 20 years. Friends and family say the 55-year-old had become despondent over the spill's impact on his livelihood. He took a job working for BP's cleanup crew 2 weeks ago and other captains say he, like them, found the work frustrating and plagued by bureaucracy.

"We're helping cover up the lie. We're burying ourselves," a deckhand who worked for Kruse told the Washington Post. "We're helping them cover up the s*** that's putting us out of work." Social workers in the Gulf region say they're seeing a steep rise in mental health problems as the spill's effects hit communities used to hard work and independence. Kruse told him working for the "hopeless" cleanup effort was "just like prison," a fellow captain says. "And he didn't make it another week." (Read more suicide stories.)

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