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METAIRIE | An investigator who examined the safety device that failed to prevent last year’s BP oil spill said Monday his firm did not skip critical tests under pressure to meet a deadline to file a report on what caused the contraption not to work.

Neil Thompson, a Det Norske Veritas vice president, told a federal investigative panel that tests that were removed would not have affected the determination of why the blowout preventer failed.

DNV’s March 23 report concluded the device failed because of faulty design and a bent piece of pipe.

The report appears to shift some blame for the disaster away from the oil giant and toward those who built and maintained the 300-ton safety device. It was built by Cameron and maintained by Transocean.

At least one outside expert has said the findings cast serious doubt on the reliability of all other blowout preventers used by the drilling industry.


Officials: Men who fell from bus ‘roughhoused’

BOSTON | Investigators say two men were roughhousing when they fell out of the bathroom window of a bus that was traveling 60 mph on a return trip from New Hampshire. One was killed and the other was injured.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Monday that an autopsy shows Thomas Johnson, 31, of Gardner died of impact trauma Saturday night. A ruling on whether his death was accidental won’t be made until the conclusion of the investigation. Seth Davis, 34, of Winchendon has been hospitalized in stable condition.

Prosecutors say an initial investigation did not indicate that the men were fighting before tumbling out.

Fellow passenger Sherry Clement said more than 50 people were on the bus returning from a tour of New Hampshire brew pubs.


$7 million sought in ‘Liberty Dollars’

RALEIGH | Federal prosecutors on Monday tried to take a hoard of silver “Liberty Dollars” worth about $7 million that authorities say was invented by an Indiana man to compete with U.S. currency.

Bernard von NotHaus, 67, was convicted last month in federal court in Statesville on conspiracy and counterfeiting charges for making and selling the currency, which he promoted as inflation-proof competition for the U.S. dollar.

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