Apr 22, 2010 7:30 PM by Kate Mundy
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded and began burning Tuesday is now sunk in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig is roughly twice the size of a football field, and a potential major environmental disaster. It could unleash more than 300,000 of gallons of crude a day into the water.
"There are just too many uncertainties. I think it has the potential for a major spill," said Dave Rainey of BP.
Also, an estimated 700-thousand gallons of diesel enclosed in the rig for on-board operations is now under water, and officials are not sure if it's still contained.
Before the rig went under, it was spilling 13-thousand gallons of oil per hour with flames helping burn-off most of of it. Now the oil slick has spread to a one-by-five mile area. Coast Guard crews spent Thursday trying to contain the spilled oil and stop the flow.
The U.S. Coast Guard said they were prepared for a worst case scenario. They activated their Coast Guard National Strike Force. They highly trained personnel use special equipment for pollution incidents.
Meanwhile the search continues for 11 missing workers. Boats and helicopters are scouring more than 2-thousand square miles of the Gulf... but still no sign of the men including Roy Wyatt Kemp, Carl Kleppinger, Eunice native Blair Manuel, Shane Roshto and Dewey Revette.
Transocean Ltd. said the missing men may have been near the blast and unable to evacuate. Meanwhile, 98 other workers were reunited with their families in Kenner early Thursday morning. Among those, several Acadiana Weatherford employees. Company spokeswoman Christine McGee said all their employees are safely at home.