It's not what you expect to see in the Gulf of Mexico: a massive wall of flames and thick smoke. But that's what could happen as crews today began a last-ditch effort to burn up an oil spill before it hits land and potentially causes an environmental disaster. They did a test burn this evening. We expect to see the first video of the burn any minute now and we'll check in with Chad Meyers for breaking news details on how this dangerous work is being done.
The spill continues to grow as 42,000 gallons of oil leaks from an underwater well that was broken open when a drill rig exploded and sank last week. 11 workers are believed to have died in the blast. Their bodies have never been recovered.
The slick stretches for about 100 miles across the north-central gulf and is about 30 miles wide at some points.
It's within 16 miles of the mouth of the Mississippi, the U.S. Coast Guard reports.
Efforts to cap the well using remote-controlled submarines have failed. Louisiana officials fear the oil could reach the state's shoreline late Friday or early Saturday and damage shellfish and wildlife.
BP, which owns the oil well, is spending $6 million a day trying to control the spill. The company's CEO said today the explosion could have been prevented and he's putting them blame on the rig owner Transocean Ltd. A spokesman for Transocean has declined to respond to BP's comments. But Transocean's Vice President has said the oil rig had no signs of a problem before the blast.
We'll also take you inside a new adoption controversy tied to Russia. A Virginia couple is suing an adoption agency claiming they lied and deceived them. They say the boy they took home from Russia is severely ill and violent. They don't want to send him back to Russia. They want financial help to care for his special needs.
Also tonight, the rising costs of medical fraud. Harry Markopolos, the financial analyst who flagged the Bernie Madoff scam before anyone and was ignored, is now focusing on the health care industry.
Join us for these stories and much more tonight at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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