Two Oil India Limited firefighters were found dead near a natural gas well that had caught fire in Assam’s Tinsukia district on Wednesday morning, the company spokesperson said. The two men had been reported missing, according to NDTV.
The National Disaster Response Force has recovered the bodies from a pond near the well site, reported The Indian Express. The authorities suspect the men jumped into the waterbody after the fire broke.
The natural gas well caught fire on Tuesday afternoon, 13 days after a blowout. Flames still continue to billow out of the gas well. Oil India has said that the fire could take at least four more weeks to extinguish.
A team of State Disaster Response Force and fire engines are present at the spot. The Indian Air Force and the Army are also assisting the Assam government to contain the situation. The Air Force has sent three fire engines, whereas the Army is on standby. The area has been cordoned off by paramilitary forces.
The cause of the fire, which broke out at 1.40 pm on Tuesday, was yet to be ascertained. The blowout on May 27 occurred when a firm, given the task of exploration and production, tried to extract gas from a depth of 3,729 metres. Oil India Limited had approached several experts to help stop the gas leak. The oil blowout destroyed local tea gardens and water bodies in Assam.
At least 3,000 people in a 1.5-km radius of the oil well had to be evacuated on May 27 after the blowout. Last week, locals forced to move to relief camps staged a protest demanding compensation for their loss. The oil company has announced financial relief of Rs 30,000 each to the affected families.