At least 43 of the 50 miners trapped in a coal mine in Dhanbad have died due to inhalation of carbon monoxide following an explosion underground and authorities virtually ruled out the survival of the remaining.
"Rescue teams have located 43 bodies from the Bhatdih mines of which 34 have been brought to the upper level," Dhanbad Deputy Commissioner Bela Rajesh said.
Fearing the worst, Coal Minister Shibu Soren, who visited the accident site, announced a compensation of Rs three lakh to the families of the deceased workers and a job to their kin.
Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) Chairman and Managing Director Partha S Bhattacharya had earlier said "the possibility of the survival of the miners is bleak".
BCCL sources said it would be difficult for the miners to have survived the carbon monoxide gas after the explosion.
Twenty rescue teams from BCCL and other Coal India subsidiaries, Eastern Coalfields and Central Coalfields, were engaged in rescue operations and were drilling holes to let in fresh air into the mine which collapsed yesterday trapping the miners at Bhartdih mine. Four of them managed to come out.
Soren said rescue teams were close to the site of accident at the gassy mine under Nagda colliery of Bharat Coking Coal.