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A temporary no-fly zone has been put in place over a ruptured pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of oil in Mayflower.

Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an e-mail the restriction prohibits flight below 1,000 feet within a 5-nautical-mile radius over Mayflower.

Lunsford said the restriction was requested by local disaster response officials.

"They are using at least one helicopter to provide aerial support for the cleanup," he wrote. "For safety reasons, they asked us to protect the airspace 1,000 feet above the area to allow the aircraft to move as needed."

According to an FAA website, the restriction went into effect Monday and will remain in place "until further notice."

The FAA site noted earlier Wednesday that "only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff" are allowed in the zone. Lunsford said later Wednesday that officials were amending the restriction to also allow news media aircraft.

Suhrhoff is listed on a LinkedIn profile as an aviation advisor for ExxonMobil. A message left with a media line for the oil company wasn't immediately returned.

The pipeline ruptured Friday afternoon, spilling several thousand barrels worth of oil into a Mayflower subdivision and then into an adjacent drainage system.

Local responders say they were able to block it from reaching Lake Conway, which sits about a mile from the rupture site. A large-scale cleanup effort is continuing.

Gallery: Mayflower Oil Spill

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Archived Comments

  • Coralie
    April 3, 2013 at 3:28 p.m.

    Now we Arkansans have a little taste of what the XL pipeline could do.

  • ARMind
    April 3, 2013 at 3:36 p.m.

    That is a load of BS! Have you seen the aerial photos of the contaminated area!? This spill is a lot worse and far bigger than Exxon is saying and this paper is reporting. Photos from the air - thank you Reuters - clearly show that. Furthermore, this a.m. the number of wildlife that needed oil cleaning included ducks, turtles, muskrats and more... and there were some that have died. Exactly how did the turtles and muskrats get coated in oil if the oil did NOT get to Lake Conway's watershed area!?! You people who get your water from there, who live in this area should be asking some very pointed questions. Americans should be asking VERY pointed questions about why these homeowners were unaware that they were sitting on top of a large pipeline for CRUDE OIL! This has to stop now!

  • MenLR2
    April 3, 2013 at 3:42 p.m.

    Bring on the drones... lets see show pictures of how bad this really is....Me thinks we being lied to and Exxon?Koch?Republics? are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

  • RBBrittain
    April 3, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.

    @ARMind: Lake Conway is NOT a water supply for ANY city (Conway's water supply is Lake Brewer). The actual spill site was west of Hwy. 365; it went down a creek past I-40 just to the edge of Lake Conway where it was stopped. (The main containment activity appears to be just off the I-40 east-side service road, next to the westbound lanes.) I'm sure the ducks, turtles, muskrats, etc. were all in the creek.
    From Google Earth aerial photos of the area, the pipeline does NOT appear to be well-marked (especially for a crude-oil pipeline); the back lots of the subdivision were built over the pipeline route. I suspect there will be plenty of legal action by subdivision residents against both ExxonMobil and the developers.

  • RBBrittain
    April 3, 2013 at 3:53 p.m.

    I might add that photos on this very website appear to show a containment device on a narrow arm of Lake Conway. Though I suspect it's just a backup for the main containment device just east of I-40, the way the lake is shaped there that should protect the bulk of the lake. Remember, Lake Conway is a Game & Fish Commission lake; AGFC's concerns here are the same as the general public -- i.e., protect the lake's fish & wildlife.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    April 3, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

    That pipe line is about 70 years old.

  • 000
    April 3, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.

    That pipeline should of been replaced.

  • rainbowharold55
    April 3, 2013 at 5:35 p.m.

    No one is concerned that Exxon has fixed it so we can't get aerial shots of just how bad this is? What possible reason could there be so that citizens are denied access to this area from the air?

  • Garycmillerlawgmailcom
    April 3, 2013 at 7:39 p.m.

    What do they do, shoot you down?

  • RaylanGivens
    April 3, 2013 at 7:54 p.m.

    Sounds like a good start Lawyer