Meghalaya Northeast

Meghalaya: Second body of the five trapped coal miners retrieved from flooded coal pit

On Thursday, one more body of the five trapped miners was recovered from a flooded coal pit in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills.

According to officials, two miner’s body have been recovered from the flooded coal pit till date.

The five miners engaged in illegal coal mining activity were trapped inside the coal mine at Umpleng under Sutnga Elaka since May 30.

State Disaster Management Authority Executive Director Ibashisha Mawlong said that the second body was retrieved from the 152 metre deep pit by Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) divers after the first body was recovered on June 16.

“The rescuers despite inclement weather, low visibility and other hurdles continued their efforts to recover all the five bodies from the coal mine,” Mawlong said.

She said that the high water level in the coal mine created problems in the rescue operations.

She further said that rescue operations involving the NDRF are going on since the five workers got trapped inside the coal mine on May 30.

A 13-member Indian Navy team also joined the rescue operation on June 12 with remotely operated vehicles (ROV), Diver Hand Held Navigation System (DHNS) and other equipment.”

A Navy diver was also seriously injured during the risky operations.

Over 50 personnel comprising NDRF, State Disaster Response Force, Fire and Emergency Service and the police personnel have been deployed at the site to conduct the crucial task of searching and retrieving the bodies of the miners.

According to Fire and Emergency Service officials, the vertical depth of water inside the pit is nearly 152 feet.

Other rescuers said that the depth of the rat hole mine would be more than 500 feet.

Following the accident at the mine at Umpleng Elaka Sutnga, East Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police, Jagpal Singh Dhanoa, had said these workers got trapped due the sudden rush of water inside the mine after the dynamite used to split the coal pit had blasted and within no time, the mine was inundated.

Of the five miners, four were from Assam while one was from Tripura. Six co-workers managed to save themselves as they were on the outer side of the mine then and have returned to their homes in Assam.

Police earlier arrested mine owner, Shining Langstang, and charged him with violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order banning unscientific mining and transportation of coal.

The ‘Sordar’ (mine manager and head of the workers) is on the run and a lookout notice has been issued since he had brought the workers from Assam and Tripura to work in the illegal mine.

At least six people, who hailed from Assam’s Karimganj district, were killed when they were working inside a coal mine in East Jaintia Hills on January 21 this year.

Despite National Green Tribunal(NGT) ban on illegal coal mining activity in Meghalaya, the illegal mines are still operating in some parts of the state.

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