Millennium Post

Navy divers detect one body in flooded coal mine in Meghalaya

Navy divers detect one body in flooded coal mine in Meghalaya

New Delhi/Shillong: Navy divers Thursday found the body of one of the 15 miners who got trapped in a flooded rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district over a month ago, officials said.

The Navy divers detected the body using "underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicles) at a depth of approximately 160 feet and 210 feet" inside the rat-hole mine, a Navy spokesperson said on Twitter and attached video grabs of the operation.

The body has been pulled up to the mouth of the 370 feet-deep rat-hole mine and would be extricated under the supervision of doctors, the officials said.

A team of doctors has been rushed to the site to advise the rescuers on how to pull the body out safely, they added.

The arduous multi-agency search and rescue operation -- perhaps India's longest -- had begun after the workers became trapped in the illegal mine on December 13 due to flooding.

Several agencies including Navy, NDRF, Air Force are involved in the rescue operation.

According to the five miners who had made it alive, one of the workers could have accidentally punctured the walls of possibly another nearby abandoned and flooded mine.

In the Khloo-Ryngksan area, where the ill-fated mine is located on the western side of a small hillock, the Lytein river crisscrosses the valley for over 2 km.

Deputy Commissioner of East Jaintia Hills F M Dopth said there are at least 80-100 flooded and abandoned mines in the area.

The Supreme Court had rapped the Meghalaya government over the slow progress of the search operation and inaction against illegal miners.

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