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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Rescuers struggle to reach 3 trapped inside illegal coal mine in Bengal’s Kulti

Personnel of the mine rescue team of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) who are at Kulti area of West Bengal’s West Burdwan district, have not been able to contact the men 19 hours after they were trapped.

kolkata Updated: Oct 14, 2019 13:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Midnapore(West Bengal)
Three men trapped inside an illegal coal mine in Kulti area of West Bengal.
Three men trapped inside an illegal coal mine in Kulti area of West Bengal.(REUTERS Photo/ Representative image)
         

Rescuers were on Monday trying to reach the three men trapped inside an illegal coal mine in Kulti area of West Bengal’s West Burdwan district since Sunday afternoon, officials said.

Personnel of the mine rescue team of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) who are at the spot, around 230 km away from the state capital of Kolkata, have not been able to contact the men 19 hours after they were trapped.

“We heard that four persons went down the mine at Aknabagan area, and one of them somehow managed to come out,” said Somenath Bhattacharya, inspector-in-charge of Kulti police station.

“The mine rescue team of ECL are trying their best to save them. Police personnel are also present at the spot,” Bhattacharya said.

Satyabrata Sarkar, in-charge of the mine rescue team, said the three could be trapped at a depth of 50-60 feet. Sarkar added that lamps being used to locate the men went off just after descending about 20 feet.

“We could not go down far in the mine because there is an absence of sufficient oxygen. The safety lamps were extinguished after going down a certain depth in the mine,” Sarkar said.

“The oxygen level is less than 70%, it seems. There are other gases present in that depth, including poisonous ones,” he added.

There are many abandoned coal mines in the region and many locals illegally descend in those to collect coal. During the rainy season, when these mines are filled with water, the collection of coals stops.

In February this year, three people lost their lives when they drowned in water that accumulated in an illegal coal mine in Barjora area of the state’s Bankura district. Two others, who were injured, were rescued.