Navy resume search in Meghalaya mine

Navy resume search in Meghalaya mine

Navy divers getting into the flooded coal mine on Tuesday. photo credit: East Jaintia Hills district administration, Meghalaya.

After a gap of three days, Navy divers on Tuesday resumed their operation to retrieve the body of a miner found in the flooded coal mine in Meghalaya.

Official spokesperson M Susngi said navy divers put their remotely operated vehicle into the main shaft at 11am, where the body was detected on January 17. “The remains has been pulled near the main shaft but it will take some more time to bring it to the surface,” he said.

The navy divers had temporarily suspended the search in the shaft as the body parts started disintegrating. The Centre on Monday, however, told the Supreme Court that they were not suspending the search and was only awaiting opinion from forensic experts and doctors on how to retrieve the body.

A total of 15 miners got trapped in the 350-feet mine in East Jaintia Hills district, after they entered to extract coal on December 23.The miners dig horizontal holes inside the vertical shafts and crawl inside to extract coal and thus came the name of rat hole mining. The mining is still on despite a ban by NGT in 2014.

A status report that briefed the Supreme Court about the multi-agency operation said on Monday that navy divers were asked to shift from the main shaft as the skull, left wrist and the legs from the knee had already disengaged from the body. The body was pulled up to 100 feet but could not be pulled further.

Family members of at least four victims requested the district administration to pull out the bodies for last rites.

Susngi said the agencies like Coal India Limited continued to pump out water from the flooded shafts but water level did not recede much.

A 15-member team of divers from Eastern Naval Command, Vishakahpatnam had joined the search on December 29. NDRF, Odisha fire service, Coal India Limited, Kirlosker Brothers, Indian Institute of Hydrology, among others have been carrying out search.


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