National

Apr 26, 2010 2:15 PM

Oil oozes toward Gulf Coast

Oil from a sunken drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico is oozing slowly toward the coast, endangering sensitive marshes and beaches from Louisiana east to Florida.

The areas are home to dolphins, sea birds, prime fishing grounds and tourist playlands. They could be fouled later this week if crews can't cut off an estimated 42,000 gallons a day escaping two leaks in a drilling pipe about 5,000 feet below the surface.  The rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and sank two days later. Eleven of the 126 workers on board at the time are missing and presumed dead; the rest escaped. The cause of the explosion has not been determined and oil has been leaking ever since.

Crews are using robot submarines to activate valves in hopes of stopping the leaks.

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