U.S. Coast Guard officials began investigating reports that oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico has hit the coastline in the early hours of Friday, posing a threat to nature on islands along the Gulf Coast, the New York Times said.
There has been no official confirmation of the reports. U.S. Coast Guard petty officer Shawn Eggert was quoted by the paper as saying officials were planning a flyover on Friday to study the situation.
A state of emergency was declared in Louisiana on Thursday as oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig, which sunk on Thursday, continues spilling out into the sea.
Emergency workers ignited on Wednesday some of the surface oil as part of a clean-up operation. However, the oil slick still covers some 70,000 square kilometers (more than 28,000 square miles) of the Gulf's waters.
U.S. President Barack Obama pledged on Thursday to "use every single available resource" to avert larger damage. Some 6,000 U.S. National Guard troops were sent to the area of the disaster to help carry out clean-up operations.
An explosion which caused the oil spill ripped through the Deepwater Horizon, some 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, on Tuesday. The blast claimed the lives of 11 people who were working on the rig and injured other 17.
The accident, which is seen as a challenge to Obama's plans to build more oil rigs along the Atlantic shore, poses a major threat to the Gulf of Mexico's flora and fauna. The Gulf, which hosts some 4,000 drilling platforms, is home to many endangered animal species.
MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti)