Meghalaya mine tragedy: Multi-agency rescue operation begins with sophisticated diving equipment, machinery

Khliehriat (Meghalaya): The multi-agency operation to rescue the 15 miners trapped in a 370-foot-deep rat-hole coal mine was all set to resume on Sunday, officials said.

The miners have been trapped in the mine in the Ksan area of Lumthari village in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district since 13 December, after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.

The IAF helicopter transporting sophisticated diving equipment of the Navy landed at a football ground. The machines were to be transported to the accident site, 37 kilometres from the site, Superintendent of Police (SP) Sylvester Nongtynger told PTI.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is coordinating the rescue operations with the help of Navy, the NDMA and Coal India Limited, he said.

 Meghalaya mine tragedy: Multi-agency rescue operation begins with sophisticated diving equipment, machinery

Representational image. 101 Reporters

The Navy divers are likely to go inside the vertical shaft of the rat-hole coal mine on Sunday, the SP said.

"The Navy divers have reported that they have the capacity to go a depth of 100 feet, whereas the NDRF divers can go to a depth of 30 feet," he said.

A 14-member Navy team led by Lt Commander R Khetwal and a 21-member Odisha Fire Service contingent have been visiting the site since Saturday, Assistant Commandant Santosh Kumar Singh said.

Singh briefed them about the conditions of the area and gave them a sketch of the mine and the nearby shafts.

A senior district official said few pumps of Coal India limited have arrived in Guwahati and are expected to reach the site soon.

Meanwhile, a group of Indian Navy divers arrived from Vishakhapatnam on Saturday to join the operations to rescue 15 miners trapped in a flooded rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya since 13 December.

The 15-member team, equipped with specialised diving equipment, including a re-compression chamber and remotely operated vehicles capable of searching underwater, went straightway to the mine site in the remote Lumthari village in the East Jaintia Hills district.

They were briefed in detail by the NDRF personnel supervising the entire rescue operations since their arrival on 14 December, a senior official of the East Jaintia Hills district said.

A team of rescuers with 10 high-powered Kirloskar pumps has also reached the spot from Bhubaneshwar, Nongtynger told PTI on Saturday.

Another 8 high powered pumps mobilised by Coal India Limited  are being taken by road and expected to arrive in another two to three days, North Eastern Coalfields general manager J Bora said on Saturday.

Pump manufacturing company Kirloskar Brothers Limited and Coal India were jointly moving 18 high-powered pumps to drain water out of the 370-foot-deep mine.

The rat-hole mine located on top of a hillock fully covered with trees had got flooded when water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it on 13 December, trapping the 15 diggers.

Pumping of water from the mine was suspended on Saturday last as there was no visible receding of the water level in it.

Updated Date: Dec 30, 2018 16:15:21 IST