June 4th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Oil confirmed on Pensacola beaches

Tar sits on the beach in Gulf Breeze, Florida, on Friday.

For days, CNN's small army of reporters, photographers and producers has been repositioning toward Florida as oil was expected to come ashore in the Sunshine State.

And on Friday morning, tar balls - hundreds of small bits of hardened oil - littered Pensacola's white beaches. Our iReporters had been saying they had spotted tar balls nearby and in different areas a few days earlier. So we set out to check the beaches.

Tourists were the first to begin cleaning it up. iReporter Marc Sigler said he had been camping in Fort Pickens on Tuesday when he saw tar balls; they spent the next day swimming, picking it up and cleaning the beach. iReport: See Sigler's photos

Further south on the beach on Friday, we saw blobs the size of a Frisbee of reddish-brown oil.

Nobody knew for sure whether the tar was from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Local officials said that so much tar had been piling up that they didn't have the resources to test all the balls and blobs of oil locally, so they would be assuming that if they came in such large amounts now, they were probably from the disaster in the Gulf. Similar tar balls and oil slicks have shown up on beaches along the Gulf since the rig exploded and sank.

iReport: Help us track the oil disaster

Friday afternoon, reporters and residents got the answer they were waiting for: Florida's Division of Emergency Management issued a statement saying, "tar patties and tar balls have been confirmed in widely scattered areas east of Pensacola."

Reconnaissance flights are taking place to determine all of the locations nearby that may be affected. While that goes on, some tourists will keep on cleaning - and worrying.

Tourist Catherine Maloney looked at the blobs of oil with surprise and disgust before taking pictures of them.

"This is going to affect this area for years," she said. "It's already so quiet, it feels like a hurricane came."

soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Teo

    Please help people to evacuate immediately! The elderly and weak will not make it once the oil is on land, so please! Help them start evacuating while they still can. CNN's report yesterday had native americans saying if oil was brought by tornado "they won't let us back" help get people out of death's way please! I'm only typing this to try and save lives. Obama, BP, someone! Help get people out of this devastation while it's still possible! Many will die terrible deaths, come on! Evacuation must start immediately to save lives. I've done all I can, I hope this comment isn't buried.. like so many will if they aren't taken to safety.. Thanks for this opportunity to comment.

    June 4, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve M

    I am sickened that there has been no earnest attempt to stiop the flow of oil...All the attempts thus far have been catering to an agenda..Keep the oil flowing..Why didn't they just crimp the pipe instead of cutting it? Why not cut the botls and replace the top of the flange equipped with a shut off valve? Both the Obama Admin and BP are allowing this disaster to continue un-necessarily..My condolences to all affected.

    June 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adri

    god forbid this oil gets into the everglades... It would be catastrophic for FLA

    June 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. McJesus

    Pray harder and things will get better. It always works to avert environmental disasters and other 'acts of god'.

    June 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dee

    Obama is not to blame but he is the ONLY President in my lifetime to always blame others constantly. THAT's not Leadership. He can't lead because he doesn't know how; he's never led anything. You fools who put him in over his head can feel good now. He talks about the illegality of a law which he hasn't read, he won't secure our borders, our enemies have a green light because he has no balls, he wants to disarm our nation, he is excited that we posted 431,000 new jobs last month....oh, wait, 411,000 were temporary census workers; now that's economic growth! Half of our people don't pay taxes; it just goes on and on. It's pitiful, he's pitiful, and you morons who voted for him are pitiful. BUT he is not to be blamed for this oil spill. What in the world could he do?

    June 5, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dee

    I was coming to Destin in two weeks for another vacation on the beach. Looks like I may have to cancel my plans. I feel sorry for you guys who did nothing wrong but are having to pay a steep price; and how about those poor birds and other wildlife? Very sad, very sad.

    June 5, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. davec

    How about a bounty for tar balls? Have BP pay for tar balls.

    June 5, 2010 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nate

    On a related note....I can't help but wonder where all the TEA PARTY protesters went? Now everyone is crying about BP not doing a good job cleraning up the spill and wanting the federal government to step in. Wait a minute....I thought privite industry was supposed to regulate itself? I notice NONE of the TEA PARTY folks are protesting the gov't getting involved now we have a crisis. No one is saying..."Obama, keep your hands off BP and don't help clean up because big government is bad". I'm also not hearing Sarah Palin yell "Drill, Baby, Drill" anymore. Kinda ironic, don't you think?

    June 5, 2010 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. paul

    where the heck is SARA THE PAIN IN AS+???? DRILL BABY DRILL.......How's that worken for Ya?

    June 5, 2010 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. techstyle

    Government involvement in private commerce is socialism, you dirty commies. Like my granddaddy and dad said "Better dead than red".
    Drill Baby Drill. Who cares about some "Beach Huggin Hippies" anyway.

    June 5, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Butch71

    President Obama can't take over capping the well head but he can attach BP's assets in the this country and use them to pay the people on the gulf coast that are impacted. Every fisherman should be able to submit their average monthly income over the past 5 years and BP should pay them every month until the fishing returns. If it never does, then they pay forever. All other people adversely impacted should also be paid monthly.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. JinnJinx

    Tar balls on the sand are a positive sign as far as clean up goes. Much easier to pick up than the greasy viscous oil.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jessica


    June 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CHerard

    re: boycott, use Hess instead. Both Don Young (of Alaska), and Sarah Palin are claiming that this is not a disaster, and in fact, that it was caused by the environmentalists being too strict. WHAT???? I think we should all send them some letters. I'm sorry for all affected by this mess in the Gulf. I wish I could help you clean.

    June 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Vacationer from Canada

    First let me say, that i can not believe the ignorace of some of the posters making light of this incident (the un-educated are very much a low form of life). I live in Canada and have been visting clear water Florida for the last two summers, enjoying my time with family and friends along with your american hospitality (which is second to none). On a average trip the family and i will spend roughly 5-6 thousand dollars for the two weeks. We enjoy driving through several states and have always been amazed at the frienldy people we meet, as we spend a day or two in either Tennessee, Atlanta, West Varginia. I have two young kids, starting school this year, and we were planning to bring the kids to Disney Land for a week then spend the next week on the Gulf of Mexico in Largo. This trip to Florda this year has been cancelled because of this spill, the impact that this spill may or may not have on human life and marine life is impossible to determine at this time, it is a chance i can not take with the two most precious angels in my life . Two other couples that we often travel to Florida with are now also either changing where they will be visiting in Florda this year or thinking about new vacation spots.
    I feel sory for the loss of nature that will be result of this tragic man made disaster, and i send my best wishes to all those indiviuals who live off the sea or own and work at their small businesses along the beaches of the Gulf.
    P.S. on our first visit to Florday besides the salt water, and tropical weather we could not believe the Pelican's we saw flying around the beaches (we compared them to dinosaurs). There is nothing that looks like that in Canada, Florida is a beautiful place, just like most places in the good old USA. Dont Forget when the oil is stop leaking that the American people must hold not only BP but also your government accountable so this can never hapen again.

    June 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
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