Navy personnel spot body inside mine in India's MeghalayaStaff Writer | January 18, 2019
A body had been spotted deep inside a mine, where miners were trapped in the northeastern Meghalaya state, Indian navy personnel working in a rescue operation said Thursday.
Asia The body was spotted after over a month's gruelling rescue efforts
"One body (was) detected by the Indian navy divers using underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at a depth of approximately 160 feet and 210 feet inside a rat-hole mine," a spokesperson of the Indian navy said. "The body has been pulled up to the mouth of rat-hole mine and shall be extracted out of the mine under the supervision of doctors."
Officials said the body was yet to be identified.
On Dec. 13 last year, at least 15 miners were trapped inside the mine at Ksan near Lytein River under Saipung police station in East Jaintia Hills, about 140 km east of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya.
Although the rescue efforts to save the trapped men began immediately, however, low-capacity pumps used by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel turned out ineffective in extracting water from the collapsed flooded coal mine.
Later, Indian authorities pressed in trained men and hi-tech machinery to trace the trapped miners. So far rescuers have been unable to reach the group of miners in "rat-hole" coal mine.
Activists said "rat-hole" coal mining is widespread in the state though they are illegal.
Experts said locals illegally extract coal using dangerous "rat-hole" mines, which means digging into the side of hills and then burrowing horizontal narrow tunnels to reach a coal deposit.
Meghalaya is one of the mineral rich states in India and has nearly 640 million tonnes of coal reserves.
Activists said illegal coal mining is going on in the state despite a ban from India's environmental court - the 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. ■