Major oil spill off southern California coast

A major oil spill has occurred near a beachside city in the US state of California, raising concerns about the impact on wildlife.

The city of Huntington Beach says it received the first reports of oil spreading off its coast on Saturday.

City officials say about 3,000 barrels of crude oil has leaked. US media say the oil slick, apparently from a pipeline breach, covers 30 square kilometers.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said on Sunday that the oil had now started to wash ashore along with dead fish and birds.

She called the incident a "potential ecological disaster."

The pipeline is used to send oil from an offshore oil platform. The operator has closed it and is trying to locate the leak and pinpoint the cause.

Huntington Beach is located in a suburb of Los Angeles. The city has closed the beach, a noted surfing spot, and is warning visitors not to enter the water because of health concerns.