From the NY Times: Both BP and multiple government spokespersons told the world this am that the top kill procedure was going well. Not until late afternoon was the truth told: the process had been aborted the night before:
As hour after hour passed after the top kill began early Wednesday afternoon, technicians along with millions of television and Internet viewers watched live video images showing that the dark oil escaping into the Gulf waters was giving way to a mud-colored plume.
That was an indication that the heavy liquids known as “drilling mud” were filling the chambers of the blowout preventer, replacing the escaping oil.
In the morning, U.S. officials expressed optimism that all was going well. “The top kill procedure is going as planned, and it is moving along as everyone had hoped,” Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the leader of the government effort, told CNN Thursday morning.
And Robert Dudley, BP’s managing director, said on the NBC Today Show on Wednesday morning that the top kill “was moving the way we want it to.”
It was not until late afternoon that BP acknowledged that the operation was not succeeding at halting the leak, and that pumping had halted at 11 p.m. Wednesday night.