Navy detects fourth body in Meghalaya coal pit
Shillong: Indian Navy divers have located a fourth body, completely decomposed, in the 370-feet deep flooded coal mine in the East Jaintia Hills district, where over a dozen miners remain trapped since December 13, an official said on Sunday.
The detection of the fourth body came two days after the Navy divers located a third body, also in a highly decomposed state, with the help of a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV).
“The fourth body was detected at 230 feet in the same rat-hole coal mine at 4:32 p.m. with the help of the ROV,” a senior rescue official, who wished not to be named, told IANS.
The Navy divers also detected a wooden cart about 20 feet from the body. Officials said that both the bodies were completely decomposed and could disintegrate on a retrieval attempt.
The ROV had detected the first body on January 16 and the second on January 26 from the rat-hole coal mine.
Of the 15 trapped miners, the Navy could retrieve only one body on January 23. It was identified as that of Amir Hussain from western Assam’s Chirang district.
Meanwhile, teams from Coal India Limited, Kirloskar Brothers Limited and KSB continue to pump out water from the abandoned mine.
The coal pit disaster at Ksan village took place on December 13, 2018 despite an interim ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) since April 17, 2014.
The tragedy came to light after five miners escaped from the coal pit, flooded by water from a nearby river.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the rescue operations, has told the government that the trapped miners must be taken out of the mine, “dead” or “alive”.