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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Thirteen people trapped in ‘rat-hole’ mine in Meghalaya after flooding, rescue ops on

india Updated: Dec 15, 2018 09:06 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
Rescuers work at the site of a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. Thirteen young miners were missing and feared dead following the collapse of a shaft and flooding of a coal mine they were digging illegally in India's remote northeast, police said Friday.
Rescuers work at the site of a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. Thirteen young miners were missing and feared dead following the collapse of a shaft and flooding of a coal mine they were digging illegally in India's remote northeast, police said Friday. (AP)
         

Rescue workers were trying on Friday to reach 13 miners trapped underground in a coal mine in Meghalaya since the previous day, authorities said.

The mine is an old, illegal so-called rat-hole mine, they said. Rat-hole mines are common in Meghalaya as they are dug by villagers but are very dangerous as the coal is pulled out from narrow, horizontal seams.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said authorities had no information on the condition of the miners.

“We are praying that they come out alive,” he told Reuters by telephone from the state capital Shillong.

A flash flood from a nearby river on Thursday raced through the mine, which is located near a dense forest, said Sylvester Nongtngr, police chief of the East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya.

Nearly all mines in Meghalaya, which borders Bangladesh, use the rat-hole mining method, even though they are not legal and authorities try to crack down on them.

Workers, often children, descend hundreds of feet on bamboo ladders to dig out the coal from small holes, often leading to accidents.

First Published: Dec 15, 2018 09:06 IST