A former national-level footballer from
was among two firefighters killed while fighting the
oil well inferno
in Tinsukia district that raged for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. The fire triggered a mass exodus from villages in the vicinity even as CM Sarbananda Sonowal told PM Narendra Modi it would take a few more days for the blowout to be fully controlled.
Durlav Gogoi (35), a goalkeeper who had represented Assam in junior national tournaments and later played for Oil India Ltd’s senior team, and his colleague Tikheswar Gohain (55) had been reported missing since Tuesday afternoon, when the Baghjan oil well erupted in flames after continuously spewing clouds of gas for two weeks, report Prabin Kalita, Rajib Dutta & Rokibuz Zaman.
National Disaster Response Force
(NDRF) team found the bodies of the two men in a nearby pond on Wednesday morning.
‘Fire tenders trying to stop inferno spread’
We lost two of our men today. As of now, we are listing the cause of death as drowning for lack of forensic evidence. Suffocation is a possibility, too, because of all the gas around,” an official said. OIL said compensation had been immediately disbursed to the families of the deceased. The Assam government said the duo would be cremated with full state honours. “We suspect the two firefighters jumped into the pond to escape the flames. Several nearby water bodies have caught fire due to condensates flowing out of the oil well,” Tinsukia SP Shiladitya Chetia said.
PM Modi assured the Assam CM of all assistance to the two firefighters’ families and people displaced by the blaze. Sonowal told the PM over phone that the intensity of the fire had decreased since Tuesday, but the experts requisitioned from Singapore-based firm Alert had sought some more days to douse the flames.
In a statement, OIL said: “Experts from Alert visited the well site this morning along with OIL and ONGC teams to assess the situation. Currently, fire tenders are spraying water to keep the fire from spreading to the surrounding areas.”