For over five hours, a rupture in an undersea gas pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico has sent flames boiling to the surface of the sea. Almost immediately, many were reminded of the “door to hell” in Turkmenistan.

Quickly dubbed as ‘ocean on fire’ or ‘eye of fire’ by many, the leak occurred about 150 yards, or 137.16 metres from a drilling platform. The accident however, gave rise to the strange sight of balls of flame boiling up from below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

It is still unclear how much environmental damage was caused by the gas leak and oceanic fireball. In a statement released by Petroleos Mexicanos, a state-owned oil firm said that it had dispatched fire control boats to pump more water over the flames when the incident occurred.

Pemex, as the company is known, said in a statement: “The incident was dealt with immediately when the security protocols were activated and with the accompaniment of nearby firefighting vessels such as Santa Cruz Island, Campeche Bay and Bourbon Alienor.

“In addition, the interconnection valves in the pipeline were closed, extinguishing the fire and the gas release, ending the contingency around 10.45am and restoring normal operating conditions,” it said. 

This incident was met with many reactions on social media. One user on Twitter wrote: “The ocean is on fire” is one of those things that you can type and it’s true and yet it doesn’t feel believable.

Another wrote: “Not a movie: Gulf of Mexico – in the Campeche Sound. Three boats have supported to doused the flames…”

Darvaza Gas Crater

The Ocean Is on Fire and It’s Not a Joke
The Gates of Hell is now a tourist spot in Turkmenistan.

The incident bore a striking resemblance to the burning in the Darvaza gas crater, or more popularly known as the Door to Hell or Gates of Hell. It is a natural gas field collapsed into a cavern near Darvaza, Turkmenistan.

It is said that in 1971, Soviet scientists identified the site and thought it would be a substantial oil field site. Soon after the preliminary survey found a natural gas pocket, the ground beneath the drilling rig and camp collapse into a wide crater and the rig was buried with no casualties.

Not long after, the scientists lit the crater on fire, expecting that the gas would burn out within a few weeks, but instead it continued to burn until today.