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Last Updated: Tuesday May 04 2010 14:28 GMT

Race to try to stop oil leak

How to stop an oil spill graphic

How do you stop an oil spill?

Workers are desperately trying to build a machine to stop a massive oil leak off the coast of Louisiana.

Thousands of litres of oil has been gushing out of a pipe under the sea off the coast of America, after an oil rig exploded and sank on 22 April.

The company that ran the rig, called BP, is building a giant metal box to lower onto the leaky pipe, which will pump the oil into special boats.

They've already tried using robots to stop the leak but that hasn't worked.

Work to drill a new oil well nearby, which would cut the flow of oil into the water, has also begun. But this could take up to three months to finish.

On the surface, clean-up teams are surrounding the spill with big inflatable barriers to stop the oil spreading.

Animals at risk

Pelicans near Louisiana
Pelicans could be hurt by the oil spill

They've also tried burning the oil and spraying it with chemicals to get rid of it.

Wildlife experts are really worried that lots of animals could die. It's thought that oil could start swamping the coast soon.