NEW ORLEANS (ABC)-- Eleven people are still missing in the massive oil rig explosion off the Louisiana coast. Crude oil leaking from the well may cause a major environmental disaster for the Gulf of Mexico.
The Deepwater Horizon burned for more than 24 hours before sinking below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico Thursday. For the families of the rig's eleven missing crew member, hope of their rescue is fading.
Adrian Rose, Vice-President of Transocean, says, "They may have been onboard the rig and unable to evacuate."
Calling the chances of survival "slim," the Coast Guard will call off the search before dawn Friday morning. More than 110 workers are known to have survived the blast.
Authorities are facing another race against time: environmental. A sheen of oil surrounded the drilling rig even before it sank.
Dave Rainey, a British Petroleum, says, "It would be coming from below the sea bed, and that's all we can say at this time."
More than 300,000 gallons of crude oil a day may be coming from the site, and the rig also carried about 700,00 gallons of diesel fuel. At 42 miles off the coast, experts predict it could take four to five days for any oil to reach the Gulf coast.
Rear Admiral Mary Landry, U.S. Coast Guard, says, "We have the ability to apply, pre-approved ability to apply dispersants and allow oil to be dispersed through the water column, so it doesn't impact the shoreline."
The family of one of the missing workers became the first to sue the owners and operators of the rig, alleging negligence.