SEAL BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Beaches along three miles of Southern California coast were shut down after crude oil leaked from a ruptured undersea pipeline.

Crews with special vacuums worked to clean up the residue that coated the sand from Anaheim Bay to Long Beach. They hoped to complete the job today, said Jerry Odum, a senior field superintendent for Exxon.

The leak was discovered Wednesday morning about 100 yards from shore in a pipeline that runs from Seal Beach to an offshore Exxon oil-drilling platform.

The 8-inch diameter pipeline is used by Exxon to pump about 1,300 barrels of crude oil daily to a processing center.

''We are very sorry this happened,'' said Exxon spokeswoman Carrie Chassin. ''We will do everything we can to clean it up as soon as we can.''

About 420 gallons of crude gurgled up from the pipeline before it was shut down. It was not clear what caused the pipeline rupture.

''It's a pretty minor spill as far as spills go,'' said Orange County Fire Department Capt. Ivan Johnson.

Crude oil is not considered a toxic waste, but it could pose a threat to sea life and is ''messy and probably not good to swim in,'' said Robert Merryman, director of environmental health in Orange County.