Two firefighters found dead near Assam oil well

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The bodies of two firefighters were found on Wednesday morning near the Oil India Limited (OIL) natural gas well in Assam’s Tinsukia district that caught fire on Tuesday.

Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) engaged in rescue operations found the bodies at a pond near the well at Baghjan, which had a blow out on May 27 and spewed gas and condensate for 14 days before it caught fire.

“The dead have been identified as Durlov Gogoi, 30, and Bikeshwar Gohain, 56. Both used to work as firefighters with OIL and were engaged in controlling the well, which caught fire on Tuesday,” said an NDRF official.

“Their bodies were found at 10 am from a pond close to the well. The bodies have been handed over to district officials.”

On Tuesday, OIL announced in a statement that only one person, an employee of Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) working at the site, had sustained a minor injury when the fire broke out.

The fire broke out a day after three experts from a Singapore-based firm, Alert Disaster Control, reached the site to try to plug the well.

The Baghjan well witnessed the blowout while work was underway to produce gas from a new oil and gas bearing reservoir at a depth of 3,729 metres. A blow out is the uncontrolled release of crude oil or gas from a well when pressure control systems fail.

Following the blow out, nearly 2,000 people living near the well were moved to four relief camps. Natural gas and condensate from the well had been flowing “uncontrollably” from May 27.

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