BP Oil Spill Timeline:
Starting on April 20th when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and caught fire, injuring 15 workers and killing 11 others.
On April 22nd, the rig sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
Two days later, an average of 42-thousand gallons of crude oil were leaking into the gulf each day.
April 28th - BP fails to repair blowout preventer valve.
May 2nd - Offshore fishing in the area of the oil spill was closed.
May 5th - BP capped one of the three leaks spewing oil... and six days later, a smaller "top hat" containment box was lowered over the leak... it was not effective in fully stopping the leak.
May 19th - oil reaches the main shore of Louisiana
May 26th - B-P's next attempt to kill the well by stuffing it with mud, nicknamed, "top kill" , fails to plug the well.
June 1st - United States launches a criminal investigation against B-P.
June 16th - B-P agrees to a 20 billion dollar downpayment towards victim compensation.
June30th - Hurricane Alex paused clean up when it traveled through the gulf
June 23rd - the ill placed cap is knocked off the well
July 15th - another cap is put in place but deemed ineffective because of gasses still leaking out.
September 17th - the relief well was completed, bringing the leak one step closer to being sealed.
September 19th - the well has been plugged with cement and is deemed " effectively dead" five months after the spill began.
October 1st - Tony Hayward steps down .
Jerry Askin is at the coast and will bring you more on how folks are handling the stigma the BP Oil Spill left behind later on Eyewitness News.
April 20, 2011 -
One year ago today, the Deepwater Horizon Rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, spewing oil into the Gulf for 85 days. Tuesday , the federal government opened the last area of water that had remained closed since the spill.
Louisiana state officials flew over a sheen of oil still coating the gulf- one year after the biggest environmental disaster in the nation's history.
In a marsh near the mouth of the Mississippi river- mud mixes with oil.
Part of what's left after more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled out of the doomed Deepwater Horizon.
Eleven men died when the oil rig exploded, including 24 year old Adam Weise. His body was never found.
His sister, Sarah Weise has struggled with his death.
"It's hard to know that's where my brother is… he's at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico."
The explosion didn't just take lives....the resulting oil spill devastated the region's environment and economy.
All along the gulf coast, fishing and tourism provide jobs and tax dollars for local communities. After the BP oil spill, fishermen lost their livelihoods and tourists vanished
But a year later, Pensacola beach restaurant owner Mike Pinzone says business is improving.
"We've gotten a lot of locals and a lot of spring breakers. We're probably up 15 or 20 per cent."
BP is spending millions on promotional ads to reassure potential tourists.
"BP said they were going to clean it up."
Tina Ross, a member of a local Chamber of Commerce encourages tourists to return to the beaches.
"It's important that people know that our beaches are safe. They're clean and we just need people on them."
One year since the disaster, tourists are returning. But some of them fear there's more oil out there, and if there is, no one knows which way it will go.