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Last Updated: Wednesday April 28 2010 06:48 GMT

Oil leak could be America's worst

Oil spill

Animals at risk from oil spill

Leaks from an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico could become one of the worst oil spills in American history if they aren't stopped soon, say coast guards.

Officials are warning that sealing the leaks could take months.

Tens of thousands of litres of oil a day have been gushing into the sea since an oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana on 20 April.

Eleven workers are missing and feared dead. An investigation into the cause of the disaster is under way.

Workers on a nearby oil platform were evacuated by American officials authorities on Monday after the oil slick came dangerously close.

Environmental experts are also concerned about the effects of the oil slick on local wildlife.

The oil spill now covers a whopping 74,100 sq km, and has spread within 32km of the coast of Louisiana.

Several oil skimmers, tugboats barges and special recovery boats that separate oil from water are trying to round up the oil. A controlled burn of the fuel is also being considered.