BP Begins Risky ‘Top Kill’ Attempt to Stop Oil Spill

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After final federal approval, BP has begun its hit-or-miss “top kill” attempt to stop the gushing oil still blackening the Gulf of Mexico. The ploy comes after several other attempts to either stop or slow the flow failed.

But with estimates that as much as 60,000 barrels of crude are spilling into the Gulf each day, anything is worth trying once. The method has been used before to stop geysers from shooting oil from the ground in the Persian Gulf, but it has never been tried underwater, much less nearly a mile between the surface.

BP began the process Wednesday afternoon, but it may not be known for days whether or not the attempt was completely successful, officials say. Watch a live video of the effort here. A New Orleans Times-Picayune graphic illustrating how the method works is here.