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Rescue efforts for Meghalaya coal miners peak, but no signs yet of 15 trapped men

It’s a race against time as it’s been 16 days since they got trapped inside a flooded 320-feet coal mine in Meghalaya.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 15 miners got trapped inside a flooded rat-hole coal mine over 2 weeks back
  • Navy has taken charge and dispatched a special 15-member team with divers
  • Lone survivor escaped the mine by holding onto an electric wire throughout

he operations for rescuing some 15 miners trapped in Meghalaya for over 16 days have finally gained pace after multiple agencies coming together.

Two weeks have passed since a group of miners got trapped inside a flooded illegal mine in Saipung, Meghalaya.

Sylvester Nongtnger, Superintendent of Police of East Jaintia Hills said, “In the latest update, Indian Navy has taken charge and has dispatched a special 15-member team to help pull out the trapped miners from rat-hole like mine. The Indian Navy’s special divers will help rescue with remoteoperated vehicles for underwater”.

The National Disaster Response Force assistant commandant Santosh Kumar Singh explained, “Odisha fire services’ rescue team is also there helping in rescue operations and they are planning to install pumps at multiple mines to pump out water. The rescue team is trying to study the area to stop water from the Lytein River from flowing into mine.”

Sukant Sethi, chief, fire officer of Odisha Fire Service said, “So far, as already discussed with the NDRF officers and what we know, all the mines are inter-connected, and some can be abandoned. They have tested the water of different abandoned mines and the pH level is same as that of normal mines. A river flows close to the mines, so there is a possibility of this river entering the mines.”

“We are thus going to survey all other mines that are abandoned as we want to know the water-level in these mines. Thereafter, we will try to put up pumps in different abandoned mines which are near to these mines to reduce the water level.”

“We will use the 63 HP pumps to drain out the water from different mines but what will be the speed of water on the ground is difficult to say now. So once we pull out the water, we will see how much time it takes to fill up to that level again then after we can say anything,” he added.

Talking to India Today TV, a 21-year-old Sayeb Ali, who had escaped from the mine on that fateful day said that he escaped by holding onto an electric wire throughout.

Ali said, “Total 22 persons had gone to the coal mine for work that day. Out of 22 persons, 18 persons went inside the mine. When people were busy working inside, we heard noises of water and immediately checked the surface, and saw that water had entered inside the coal mine. When the water level increased, five persons including me fell in the water. The coal mine was 380-foot-deep.”

“However, an electric wire was fitted there, and as the water level reached 250-feet I came lost the grip of the wire. I got injured but God saved me. I’m the only person who could come out from the coal mine. Many are still inside the mine,” he said.

 

News Credit: India Today

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