Buzz (Saw) Kill: Effort to Contain Gulf Spill Stalled

Another effort to stem the geyser in the Gulf Coast has hit a snag.

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Another effort to stem the geyser in the Gulf Coast has hit a snag.

The risky effort to contain the nation's worst oil spill hit a snag Wednesday when a diamond-edged saw became stuck in a thick pipe on a blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the goal was to free the saw and finish the cut later in the day. This is the latest attempt to contain - not plug - the gusher; the best chance at stopping the leak is a relief well, which is at least two months from completion.

"I don't think the issue is whether or not we can make the second cut. It's about how fine we can make it, how smooth we can make it," Allen said.

If crews make the cut, they will try to place a cap on top of the oil spewing out. This cut-and-cap effort could temporarily increase the flow of oil by as much as 20 percent, though Allen said officials wouldn't know whether that had happened until the cut could be completed.

Engineers may have to bring in a second saw if the delay continues, and they are shooting chemical dispersants at the oil leaking out of the new cut. The cap could be placed over the spill as early as Wednesday.