HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California contaminated popular beaches and killed wildlife, while crews scrambled to stop crude oil before it spilled into protected wetlands on Sunday.
At least 126,000 gallons (98,420 litres) of oil spilled into Orange County waters. Statement From downtown Huntington Beach.
“The spill has significantly affected Huntington Beach, with substantial ecological impacts to be had on the beach and Huntington Beach wetlands,” the statement said.
The Los Angeles Times reported that birds and fish had been killed. Crews, led by the US Coast Guard, deployed skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to prevent further infiltration into the wetlands and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
The beach was cordoned off to the Santa Ana River Wharf, about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) south of the Huntington Beach Pier. Officials canceled the final day of the annual Pacific Air Show, which normally draws thousands of spectators to Huntington Beach, a city of about 199,000 residents about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of downtown Los Angeles.
The Times said the oil shortage is believed to have resulted from a pipeline leak. “While the leak is not completely closed, preliminary patching to repair the oil spill site has been completed,” said a Huntington Beach statement early Sunday, adding that additional repairs are planned.