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Rescuers struggle to retrace second body in Meghalaya mine

Rescuers are struggling to retrace the second body detected by Indian Navy’s Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) on January 26 in the illegal rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2019 19:18 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Meghalaya,mine,Rescue
Naval divers detected the body of another miner early this morning at a depth of 280 feet inside a rat-hole in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district where over a dozen miners remain trapped since December 13. (ANI Photo)

Rescuers are struggling to retrace the second body detected by Indian Navy’s Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) on January 26 in the illegal rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya where at least 14 miners are still untraceable since December 13, officials said.

“At around noon on January 26, when attempts were made to pull out the dead body from the rat-hole to the main shaft, it slipped from the grasp of the ROV. Then, that ROV itself got stuck in what we think is a wooden cart inside the rat-hole,” one official familiar with the developments said on condition of anonymity.

“The ROV was finally retrieved late evening on January 28,” this official said, adding attempts are on to retrace the body.

In its latest report to the Supreme Court, the state government said “rescue operation is continuing and traces of remains of miners have been detected. However, the extraction process is underway.”

According to FM Dopth, deputy commissioner, the second body was detected by the ROV 280 feet inside the rat-hole on January 26.

R Susngi, the spokesperson of the East Jaintia Hills district administration said, “The Navy lost track of the body. They are trying to retrieve it.”

He said there are multiple obstacles inside the rat-hole, including cables, and the turbidity of the water is high making visibility difficult.

A joint rescue operation involving local workers, National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and Indian Navy, among others, with some equipment flown in from outside the state, has been on at the illegal rat-hole mine at Khloo Ryngksan in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. At least 15 miners were trapped on December 13 as water gushed inside the mine.

On January 28, after 46 days of the incident, the Indian Army joined the operations to assist the Navy for “efficient, smooth, round the clock ops,” according to a defence spokesperson. The Army has set 15 tents close to the site of the accident for naval divers and the Army team.

On January 16, the ROV detected the first body which was pulled out on January 24. It was identified by the wife and mother of Amir Hussain, one of the three trapped miners from Chirang in Assam.

First Published: Jan 29, 2019 19:08 IST