Emergency crews have descended upon a California beach after a pipeline leaked tens of thousands of oil into the ocean.

An oil pipeline ruptured along Refugio Stage Beach on Tuesday and spilled over 21,000 gallons of oil into the ocean before it could be secured.

The beach was closed and the the cause of the rupture has not been determined.

NBC Bay Area reports that the slick was initially estimated to be about a half-mile long but was reported to have spread to 4 miles wide by 3:30pm.

Richard Abrams with the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said that the broken pipe, operated by Plains All American Pipeline, had been abandoned some time ago.

Abrams told The Santa Barbara Independent, “I guess there was still some product in there.”


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