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Santa Barbara Oil Spill Turns Picturesque Coastline Into A Graveyard For Wildlife

22/05/2015 16:16 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 16:59 BST

The picturesque coastline near Santa Barbara has become a graveyard for wildlife after an underground pipeline leaked thousands of gallons of crude oil into local waters earlier this week. Fish, squid, seals and even pelicans were left dying on the beach, with local residents attempting to help the varied species that were still alive. Speaking to the HuffingtonPost, Shayne Tuthill said: "It was really sad to see the seal because it came to shore and couldn't breathe or swim. The pelican was alive at one point. It landed, but it was consumed by the oil... and died."

The operator of the pipeline warned it could take weeks or even months before investigators find what caused the disaster. Bad weather slowed cleanup efforts early Friday at the spill site, where gusty winds whipped up waves as high as 4 feet, the National Weather Service said. Several days of calm seas had helped crews, but oil-skimming vessels were brought in late Thursday.

An estimated 105,000 gallons of crude spilled on Tuesday, and about 21,000 gallons is believed to have made it to the sea and split into slicks that stretched 9 miles along the coast. As of Thursday, more than 9,000 gallons had been raked, skimmed and vacuumed up, officials said.

Oil spill in California