Search for the 11 missing oil rig crewmembers is supsended

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Deepwater Horizon fire 01The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for the 11 missing crewmembers from the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The announcement was made at 5 pm Central time. Coast Guard representatives say they believe the workers never made it off the platform before the rig exploded.

Coast Guard Capt. Peter Troedsson said he spoke with all the workers’ families about the decision to suspend the search before announcing it to the media. “I’m a father and husband, and I have done this a few times before. It’s never easy. Your heart goes out to these people,” Troedsson said.

The Coast Guard says it will resume the search if any ships in the area see anything, but the workers’ chances of survival had seemed slim well before Friday afternoon’s announcement. “The time of reasonable expectation of survivability has passed,” Rear Adm. Mary Landry said.

As for the Deepwater Horizon, after burning for more than two days, the platform is now underwater. With it, tanks holding 700,000 gallons of diesel. Whether or not that diesel is contained is unknown. “We don’t know if some of it burned off when it sank and some of it’s still in the tanks. So they’re assessing that now with underwater robots- they’re taking a look to see if there’s any fuel if the tanks have been damaged”, says Senior Chief Mike O’Berry from the U.S. Coast Guard.

That means the potential for serious pollution. BP is responsible for the cleanup while the Coast Guard is assisting them. O’Berry says they can’t guarantee the oil won’t make it to the land, so oil spill response will be a big priority.