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US marks one year since Gulf oil disaster

This Dec. 1, 2010 photo provided by the University of Georgia, made from the submarine Alvin, shows a dead crab with oil residue near it on a still-damaged sea floor about 10 miles north of the BP oil rig accident. Marine biologist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia said, 'We consistently saw dead fauna (animals) at all these sites. It's likely there's a fairly large area impacted,' she said. (University of Georgia, Samantha Joye)

April 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the deadly explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that triggered one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.

On the night of April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a rig owned by Transocean Ltd., burst into flames after drilling a well for BP PLC, killing 11 workers on or near the drilling floor.

The rest of the crew evacuated, but two days later the rig toppled into the Gulf and sank to the sea floor. The bodies were never recovered.

Over the next 85 days, more than 200 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the sea.

Some relatives of the men who died are flying over the Gulf of Mexico to mark the one-year anniversary. They were expected to circle the site a few times in a helicopter.

In a statement, President Barack Obama paid tribute to the 11 men killed in the explosion and thanked the thousands of people who responded to the disaster.

Meanwhile, accumulated oil is believed to lie on the bottom of the Gulf, and it still shows up as a thick, gooey black crust along miles of Louisiana's shoreline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.