Steve Rae stood on the edge of the burning platform, contemplating the black and unwelcoming waters below. Jumping was his only option but that did not make it any easier.
The sound of a pipe exploding near by jolted him out of his stupor. With the Piper Alpha platform engulfed in flames behind him in what was to become Scotland's worst industrial disaster, the 26-year-old electrician took the leap of faith that saved his life.
Mr Rae, now 46, is one of the 61 men who survived the Piper Alpha disaster on July 6, 1988, which claimed the lives of 167 of his colleagues.
The drilling operations manager in Aberdeen, who has become an outspoken campaigner for safety in the North Sea, is sanguine about his escape. “You don't think about it at the time - you just do what your gut instinct tells you to do, and that's the way it was,” he said on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the disaster.
Read More at gCaptain's Piper Alpha page.