The spill was caused by a pipeline ruptured from an oil rig in Huntington Beach, California. Cargo ships en route to the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports regularly pass through the area.
“We’re investigating if it might have been an anchor from a ship, but it’s being evaluated now,” says Jenny Shay of the Coast Guard.
Divers examined nearly 2.5 kilometers of the pipeline and further focused on a special section, Amplify Energy CEO Martin Welcher said at a press conference.
Since the oil began leaking last Saturday, it has spread 30 miles and is feared to cause serious damage to wildlife in the area.
Beaches are closed to the public
“The impact on the environment and wildlife is irreversible,” Orange County Representative Katrina Foley said in a statement Saturday.
Authorities are advising residents to avoid recreational activities on the coast and urging anyone who may have been exposed to the oil to seek medical attention, according to reports. CNN. Common symptoms that can occur upon contact with the oil are skin irritation, headache, and vomiting, according to Dr. Clayton Chao, a health care professional.
The city of Laguna Beach announced, on Sunday, the closure of all beaches to the public. Newport Beach has issued a warning to avoid contact with seawater and beach areas that may have been affected by oil.
Mayor Kim Kar also commented on the release on Sunday, calling it a “potential environmental disaster.” But so far, few animal species have been found dead on the beach.
“In our first assessment of the area, the number of birds in the general area appears to be lower than we feared. For now, we are cautiously optimistic about the number of animals that could be affected,” said Michael Zicardi, a UCLA veterinarian and director of California Oiled Wildlife Care.
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