Spill investigators want to find undersea evidence

At the present that BP appears to have vanquished its breaked well, authorities are rotating their attention to gathering proof from what could amount to a crime scene at the base of the sea.

The wreckage — as well as the failed blowout preventer and the blackened, twisted bits and pieces of the drilling raised area that blow up, burned and sank in mile-deep water in the Gulf in April — may be Exhibit A in the effort to establish who is accountable for the biggest peacetime oil spill in history.

Hundreds of investigators can't wait to get their hands on proof. The FBI is conducting a criminal exploration, the Coast Guard is seeking the reason of the blast, and lawyers are pursuing millions of dollars in compensation for the families of the 11 workers killed, the dozens injured and the thousands whose livelihoods have been damaged.

"The items at the bottom of the sea are a big deal for everybody," said Stephen Herman, a New Orleans lawyer for injured rig workers and others.

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