Boat Captain in Gulf Spill Cleanup Commits Suicide

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.

The local coroner ruled that the gunshot was self-inflicted. Kruse was found right on the captain's bridge. He had no known health problems, and leaves behind a wife and four children.

"He had just let his deckhands off the boat and sent them to get something," Baldwin County Deputy Coroner Rod Steade told the local newspaper, the Press-Register. "He was going to meet them at the fuel dock. They heard a pop and when the boat didn't come around, they went back and found him."