Sean Flynn of GQ has produced the first truly great piece of journalism to come out of the tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico (h/t Jay Rosen). It is both poignant and horrifying, and impossible to stop reading once you have started. Here's a small excerpt:

Mike Williams is alive, and he knows he's alive because his entire body is in agony. Seawater slicked with oil and diesel is soaking into his wounds, stinging, burning. He's also blind, oil sliming his face, dripping into his eyes. But he can feel the heat coming off the Horizon. He turns his face toward it and begins an awkward backstroke with his one good arm, his right, using the heat as a beacon to mark what he wants to get away from.

And then he's dead. Nothing hurts anymore. His arm, his leg, his ribs, every screaming pore—all numb. The sea is silent. The heat from the rig cools. He sees only black. I must be dead.

A bang from somewhere behind him. Nope, not dead. All the pain flashes back, the heat beats on his face. His arm struggles into another backstroke.

Check out the whole thing.