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Engineers Mull Next Step After Failure to Cap Oil Spill

Engineers are considering another attempt to cap a ruptured well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, after a failed first effort to cover the well with a large containment dome.

Oil company BP's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles, said the company has not yet given up hope of a capping the leaks almost 1,500 meters below the water. Ice-like crystals clogged the containment device during the first attempt Saturday.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allan said BP officials are working around the clock to contain the oil spill and prevent a larger natural disaster.

BP is also drilling a relief well as part of the effort to contain the flow of hundreds of thousands of liters of crude per day. But the company says the well will take about three months to complete.

The spill began after an oil rig exploded on April 20 and killed 11 workers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Survivors say the blast's apparent cause was a huge bubble of methane gas that traveled up the rig's drilling pipe and caught fire at the top. A series of major explosions followed, bringing down the rig.

Beachgoers found balls of tar on an island off the coast of southern Alabama Saturday. Testing is underway to see if the tar balls are from the BP spill. Oil also has reached a wildlife reserve on the Chandeleur Islands off southern Louisiana's coast.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.