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April 30, 2010

Oil spill approaches Louisiana coast

Late on the night of April 20th, 50 miles from the shore of Louisiana, a fire broke out aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig under lease by BP, with 126 individuals on board. After a massive explosion, all but 11 of the crew managed to escape as the rig was consumed by fire, later collapsing and sinking into the Gulf. Safeguards set in place to automatically cap the oil well in case of catastrophe did not work as expected, and now an estimated 5,000 barrels (over 200,000 gallons) of crude oil is pouring into the Gulf of Mexico every day - and could possibly continue to do so for months as complicated efforts are made to stop the leak. Collected here are several recent photos of the developing situation along Louisiana's Gulf Shore - one with the potential to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in scope and damage. (32 photos total)

Two brown pelicans and a flock of seagulls rest on the shore of Ship Island as a boom line floats just offshore Thursday, April 29, 2010 in Gulfport, Miss. Several hundred yards of boom line has been set up on the north side of the island to try and contain the oncoming oil spill. Crews are placing the boom in different areas on Coast waterways to help protect against an approaching oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/The Sun Herald, William Colgin)

U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig fire in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th, 2010. Original here. (Otto Candies/US Coast Guard Press / CC BY) #

In this aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #

Firefighting boats spray seawater onto the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 21, 2010. The oil platform burned for 36 hours after a massive explosion, then later sank into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, April 22, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard said. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #

Thick smoke rises above the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #

A spreading plume of smoke (lower right) from the burning Deepwater Horizon oil rig is visible in this image of Louisiana's Gulf Coast, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on April 21. The distance from the rig to the shore is approximately 80 km (50 mi). (NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen/University of Wisconsin SSEC)#

A candlelight vigil for missing oil platform worker Adam Weise was held at the Yorktown Presbyterian Church, Friday evening April 23, 2010 in Yorktown, Texas. A family friend comforts Arlene Weise, Adam's mother. (AP Photo/The Victoria Advocate, Frank Tilley) #

A boat makes its way through crude oil that has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) #

This image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Saturday April 24, 2010 shows oil leaking from the drill pipe of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig after it sank Thursday. (AP photo/US Coast Guard) #

This April 22, 2010 photo provided Sunday, April 25 by the US Coast Guard shows the arm of a robot submarine in an unsuccessful attempt to activate a shutoff device known as a blowout preventer (BOP) to close off the flow of oil at the Deepwater Horizon well head. (AP Photo/US Coast Guard) #

Weathered oil from a leaking pipeline that resulted from last week's explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

A crew boat is seen past workers on an oil skimmer assisting in the cleanup of a leaking pipeline that resulted from last week's explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

Birds fly over a band of oil in this view of the Gulf of Mexico, south of Louisiana, where oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead continues to spread in this photograph taken and released to Reuters on April 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner/Greenpeace) #

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mississippi Responder is pictured during cleanup activity in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana where oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead continues to spread April 28, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner/Greenpeace) #

A dispersant plane passes over an oil skimmer as it cleans oil from a leaking pipeline that resulted from last week's explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

Oil, bottom right, is seen approaching the Louisiana Coast, top left, in this aerial photo taken 8 miles from shore, Wednesday, April 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #

A Louisiana National Guard helicopter flies over Breton Sound off the coast of Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana Thursday, April 29, 2010. Containment booms have been deployed along the Louisiana coastline as oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion approaches land. (AP Photo/Liz Condo) #

A workboat with oil booms is seen next to a lighthouse at the mouth of the Mississippi River in advance of the looming oil spill from last week's collapse and spill of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in Port Eads, Louisiana, Thursday, April 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #

An April 25, 2010 satellite photo provided by NASA shows a portion of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, with ships visible at bottom left. (AP Photo/via NASA) #

A Louisiana Heron rests in the fragile wetlands near the town of Venice, in the path of the oil spill that is creeping towards the coast of Louisiana on April 29, 2010. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Hurricane Katrina-damaged car still sits half-submerged near cypress trees in Venice, Louisiana on Thursday, April 29, 2010. A region still recovering from the 2005 hurricane season is bracing for a growing oil spill that resulted from last week's explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

Workers move containment booms to a smaller vessel on the Mississippi River at Port Eads, Louisiana on Thursday, April 29, 2010. A huge effort is underway to help mitigate the effects of an oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) #

In this Wednesday, April 28, 2010 photo provided Thursday, April 29 by the Coast Guard, a high volume skimming system skims oil from the Gulf of Mexico near Venice, Louisiana. (AP Photo/US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Prentice Danner) #

Louisiana fishers sign forms offering their fishing boats and equipment to aid in protecting the coastal wetlands as they gather at the St. Bernard Parish Council Chambers in Chalmette, Louisiana Thursday, April 29, 2010. They met in an emergency meeting Thursday to see how they can use their resources to help fight the oil spill spewing from from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster that is threatening the Louisiana and Gulf Coast coastlines and the estuaries. (AP Photo/The Times Picayune, Ted Jackson) #

Birds fly over oil on the water near Breton Sound Island, on the southern most tip of the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Louisiana April 29, 2010. (REUTERS/Sean Gardner/Greenpeace) #

A boat makes its way through crude oil that has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) #

An oil rig near the Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) #

Captain Michael Nguyen stands near his fishing boat in Venice, Louisiana, Thursday, April 29, 2010. Local fishermen are worried about how their industry will withstand a growing oil spill that resulted from last week's explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

Birds fly above and sit on a shoal surrounded by oil booms on Breton Sound Island on the southern most tip of the Chandeleur Islands in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana where oil leaking from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead continues to spread on April 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Greenpeace, Sean Gardner) #

An oil containment boom is swamped by waves along the Louisiana coast at South Pass of the Mississippi River Thursday, April 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) #

A satellite image taken on April 26, 2010, shows an airplane (upper left) flying over part of the oil slick resulting from the explosion of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig, in the Gulf of Mexico. (REUTERS/DigitalGlobe) #

The growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is captured in this image from NASA's (MODIS) instrument aboard the Terra satellite. This natural-color image acquired April 29, 2010 shows a twisting patch of oil nearly 125 km (78 mi) wide. (NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen/University of Wisconsin SSEC) #

 
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