Oil gushed largely unchecked from BP’s ruptured Gulf of Mexico well yesterday after a collision involving an undersea robot halted efforts to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history.


After siphoning off a record amount of oil from its blown-out well on Tuesday, BP suffered a setback when an undersea robot crashed into the containment cap system that channels leaking oil from the mile-deep well to a ship on the surface.


Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the Obama administration’s point man for the oil spill, said the containment cap system could restart later in the day after safety checks.


He said the flow of oil from the well was not completely unchecked. Some was still being burned off on the surface.


The oil slick has shut down rich fishing grounds, killed hundreds of turtles and seabirds and dozens of dolphins, and has soiled the coastline in four U.S. states.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said initial investigations showed “reckless conduct” in the days leading up to the April 20 explosion on an offshore oil rig that ruptured BP’s Gulf of Mexico well.

Salazar did not elaborate on his observation that he believed reckless behavior was involved in the April 20 rig blast in which 11 workers were killed.