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13 trapped in coal mine in India's northeast feared killed

Staff Writer | December 14, 2018
At least 13 people who were trapped inside a coal mine in India's northeastern state of Meghalaya are feared killed, officials said Friday.
East Jaintia Hills
Asia   East Jaintia Hills
The coal mine according to police was running illegally.

The incident took place at Ksan near Lytein River under Saipung police station in East Jaintia Hills, about 140 km east of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya.

"We are being told 13 people, including three residents of Lumthari village, were trapped yesterday inside a mine at Ksan here. They were trapped after the mine collapsed due to flooding," a senior police official said. "We have dispatched a contingent of police and disaster response force personnel team to the spot and they are doing their best to search the trapped ones."

According to the police official, flooding inside the mine was making it impossible for the rescuers to reach out to the trapped people.

"The water is being pumped out and with the help of locals who are familiar with the mine the rescue work is under process," the official said. "We fear time is running out for us to find them alive as since yesterday we have not been able to trace them or make any contact."

Meghalaya is one of the mineral rich states in India and has nearly 640 million tonnes of coal reserves.

Activists say illegal coaling mining is going on in the state despite a ban from India's environmental court - National Green Tribunal (NGT) on unscientific mining in the area.

In 2012, at least 15 miners were trapped in an illegal coal mine in South Garo Hills district of the state. Their bodies were never recovered, reports said.