Three illegal miners in Jharkhand's coal city of Dhanbad died when the roof of a closed mine they were working in caved in. More casualties are expected, police said on Friday.
According to the police, seven to eight people were working in the closed Munidih coal mine of Dhanbad district, some 240 km from Ranchi on Thursday night, when the roof of the mine caved in, trapping all of them.
All the men are suspected to have died. Villagers recovered one body Thursday night while two more bodies were recovered Friday morning.
The mine belongs to Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL).
More than 350 people have lost their lives in illegal coal mining in what is now Jharkhand in the last 15 years.
When Shibu Soren was the union coal minister in 2004, he had planned to legalise mining in closed mines but this did not materialise.
If legalised, it would improve the conditions of illegal miners and they would be entitled for compensation in case of accidents.