The bodies of two firefighters who went missing at a wetland near the site of a massive oil well fire in India's Assam were recovered on Wednesday.
The wetland is located near the scene of the oil well fire in the state's Baghjan Tinsukia area.
The government-owned Oil India Limited (OIL)’s rig turned into a raging inferno on 9 June, 14 days after the damaged rig spewed gas uncontrollably.
The blaze, which is till burning for a second day, has damaged several houses in the adjacent area. Local residents have stated on social media that the carcasses of endangered Gangetic dolphins and other aquatic life can be seen floating in the water of the national park.
A massive fire erupted in Oil India limited oil well. Several fishes, Gangetic river dolphins and birds have died due to the gas leak since May 27. It may take 4 weeks to douse the fire. #Baghjan#PrayForBaghjan#SaveMaguriBeel#BaghjanOilField#BaghjanFire#Oil#OilIndia pic.twitter.com/LKh0C7Cx9A— Biju chetry (@chetrybiju) June 10, 2020
Tragedy of Baghjan in Assam. An oil well was spewing gas for a fortnight. It could not be capped. Rather it caught fire. Hundreds of people rendered homeless with their houses gutted. Nearby Dibru Saikhowa reserve forest is endangered with its flora and fauna.#Baghjan_Fire pic.twitter.com/Gu9bqLHo71— Sanjib Kr Borkakoti (@borkakoti) June 10, 2020
The blaze from the rig can be seen from a distance of 30 km, Indian news agency PTI reported. Billowing smoke and fumes have become a hazard to local biodiversity, as it is located near the Maguri Mottapung wetland and Dibru Saikhowa National Park, it added.
Pictures below are from #bhagjan oil well,from tinisukia (assam).the OIL maintained well caught fire yesterday after a prolonged leakage from 27th of may 2020.the fire engulfs everything spreading across nearby villages and forests.#Baghjan #BaghjanGasLeak pic.twitter.com/1mkQZHq29v— bhargav Deka (@bhargav_9203) June 10, 2020
The state government is receiving assistance from the Indian Air Force and Army in the firefighting operations, as the situation continues to remain grim despite efforts by the country's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Around 2,500 people have been evacuated from adjoining villages and taken to relief camps by the NDRF.
Experts from the Singapore-based firm Alert Disaster Control, called to control the blowout and assess the situation, said it could take up to four weeks to totally cap the well.
The public sector company, OIL has also announced financial relief of INR 30,000 (about $397) for each of the affected families.