NEW ORLEANS -- The active search for the 11 missing crewmembers from the Deepwater Horizon has been suspended, officials said Friday. The search covered 5,200 sq mi over a three-day period. The US Coast Guard deemed that it had reached the period with which “reasonable expectations of survivors had passed.”
On Tuesday, crewmembers were plugging and abandoning a well drilled from the dynamically positioned semisub Deepwater Horizon on Mississippi Canyon block 252, when the first explosion and subsequent fire were reported. A second explosion on Thursday sank the rig. It was in 5,000 ft of water, approximately 52 mi from shore.
The US Coast Guard National Strike Force had deployed a number of assets including airplanes and skimming vessels for ongoing and potential pollution response. ROVs were deployed subsea to monitor the oil leaking from the well, which “appears” to have subsided, officials said Friday. A “crude oily” mix on the surface was seen following the incident that officials described as a “1-mi by 5-mi rainbow sheen,” which reportedly expanded to 2 mi by 8 mi.
ROVs on Friday continued to monitor the well and a search for the submerged rig was ongoing. Cleanup work on the scene continues.
Officials confirm that there were 700,000 gallons of diesel in enclosed tanks inside the rig’s pontoons at the time of the initial explosion. However, the cause of the explosions and fire are unknown.