Guwahati: Rescuers searching for 15 workers trapped in an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya have found the body of one person and have also spotted skeletons, Navy sources said. The men have been trapped in the mine for 35 days now. Indian navy divers utilised remotely operated vehicles — used for searching objects underwater — to track down the body. “One body has been detected by Indian Navy divers using a remotely operated underwater vehicle at a depth of 160 feet,” a navy spokesperson said on Twitter.
“The body has been pulled up to the mouth of the rat-hole and shall be extracted out of the mine under the supervision of doctors.”
On December 13 last year, the illegal “rat-hole” mine, located in the East Jaintia Hills district of the state, became flooded after 15 miners went down the narrow pit. Another similar accident involving an illegal coal mine in the state resulted in the death of two workers earlier this month.
Rat-hole mining, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives in the state prior to its ban by India’s environmental court in 2014, is still common in the region despite the ban.
Even though rescuers haven been pumping out several liters of water with effective high-power from pumps, the level of the 370-feet-deep does not seem to have lowered. Additionally, a team of rescue personnel from the Odisha Fire Services brought high-powered pumps with them. Sources say Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle’s (ROV) are used by the Indian Navy were stuck in the mine on many occasions.