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Military helicopters drop sandbags as oil spill cleanup efforts continue off Louisiana

Blackhawk military helicopters began dropping sandbags along the Louisiana coastline Monday, as oil spill cleanup efforts continued.

A Blackhawk helicopter prepares to drop sandbags in their efforts to dam off part of the marsh on Elmer's Island in Grand Isle, La., Monday, May 10, 2010. Oil giant BP PLC's oil rig exploded April 20, in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers. It sank two days later and now, multiple efforts have begun in the oil spill cleanup.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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Black Hawk helicopters peppered Louisiana's barrier islands with 1-ton sacks of sand Monday to bolster the state's crucial wetlands against the epic Gulf of Mexico oil spill — 4 million gallons (15 million liters) and growing.

At the site of the ruptured well a mile (1.6 kilometer) underwater, a remote-controlled submarine shot chemicals into the maw of the massive leak to dilute the flow, further evidence that BP expects the gusher to keep erupting into the Gulf for weeks or more.

Crews using the deep-sea robot attempted to thin the oil — which is rushing up from the seabed at a pace of about 210,000 gallons (795,000 liters) per day — after getting approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, BP PLC officials said.

IN PICTURES: Louisiana oil spill

Two previous tests were done to determine the potential impact on the environment, and the third round of spraying was to last into early Tuesday.

The EPA said the effects of the chemicals were still widely unknown.

BP engineers were casting about after an icelike buildup thwarted their plan to siphon off most of the leak using a 100-ton containment box. They pushed ahead with other potential short-term solutions, including using a smaller box and injecting the leak with junk such as golf balls and pieces of tire to plug it. If it works, the well will be filled with mud and cement and abandoned.


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