Meghalaya: 2 Dead As Another Mine Collapses, Rescue Stumbles At Older Site

Meghalaya: 2 Dead As Another Mine Collapses, Rescue Stumbles At Older Site

Meghalaya: 2 Dead As Another Mine Collapses, Rescue Stumbles At Older Site (file image)

New Delhi: The illegal coal mine collapse in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills, claimed the life of at least two miners, said the police officials on Sunday. The news comes in the middle of a tottering rescue attempt in the same district, where for the last 25 days authorities have been unable to reach a group of miners trapped in a different "rat-hole" coal mine.

Mooknor, Jalyiah village, about 5 km from the district headquarters is where the recent incident took place. The authorities came to know about the incident after a relative of one of the miners, identified as 26-year-old Elad Bareh, went to the police saying that he had been missing from his home since Friday.

"A search was conducted and his body was found in front of a 'rat-hole' coal mine. When we further checked inside the narrow mine, another body was found. The second man was identified as Monoj Basumatry," Sylvester Nongtnger, a senior police officer said.

"It is suspected that boulders hit them when they tried to extract coal," Mr Nongtnger said, adding that efforts are on to find out the owner of the illegal mine.

An official said that after the high-capacity pumps of Kirloskar Brothers Limited and Coal India Limited encountered technical snags, the rescue operations to evacuate the 15 miners trapped at a mine in Ksan village were held up on Sunday.

The Odisha's firefighters team continued to drain out water from the two nearby coal mines, rescue operations spokesperson Reginald Susngi told news agency IANS.

The rescuers have been struggling, for nearly a week  to pump out water from the 370-foot-deep pit, further dimming chances of the miners' survival.

After at least 15 miners went down the narrow pit on December 13, the water had gushed into the mine. In early 2014, the Rat-hole mines killed thousands of workers in Meghalaya before India's environmental court banned the practice.

This rescue effort has been compared with the dramatic rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in July last year, which drew a massive international audience.

(With inputs from agencies)