It was the world’s worst ever spill of oil into ocean waters.
The disaster began on April 20, 2010, when an explosion rocked the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, located in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven men died, and two days later, the rig sank.
The blast caused an underwater oil well to erupt, spewing oil into the water.
The oil spread quickly, helped by strong winds. It polluted the coastlines of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. It ruined the fishing industry and
And it could continue to affect wildlife in the area for decades to come — investigators believe there are large amounts of oil below the water’s surface that may harm marine life.
The oil kept gushing for almost three months. About 4.9 billion barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling was carried out by the oil company BP, so the disaster is often called the BP oil spill.
It took many desperate attempts before the leak was sealed on September 19, 2010.
The BP spill was the most terrible environmental disaster in the United States, releasing many times more oil than the Exxon Valdez spill.