Army joins search and rescue operations in M’laya mine tragedy

Correspondent Shillong, Jan 28 | Publish Date: 1/28/2019 12:07:41 PM IST

A platoon of Indian Army troops, on Monday, joined search and rescue operations in Meghalaya where the fate of 13 miners remains unknown inside an illegal 370-feet-coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district, an official said.

Indian Navy divers couldn’t retrieve the body of another miner, which was detected on Saturday by an Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (UROV) inside a rat-hole coal mine at Ksan village as the UROV got “badly entangled” with the second wooden cart inside the mine. 
“The army troops will be providing logistic support to Navy divers team, who are deployed in the search and rescue of trapped miners for more than a month now,” a defence official, who wished not to be named, told this Correspondent. 
He said army troopers have already started setting up camps near the tragedy site. “The Navy divers on Monday couldn’t make headway in retrieving the body of another miner from inside the rat-hole mine as the UROV is non-functional after it got badly entangled with the second wooden cart inside the mine,” a senior rescue official said.
“They are trying to recover the UROV. They will lower another new UROV tomorrow (Tuesday) inside the mine to retrieve the other body,” he said. 
A 15-member team of Navy divers from Visakhapatnam detected the second body with the help of the UROV inside the rat-hole coal mine but through a complex maze of sub rat-hole mines.
The UROV also stumbled on tell-tale signs like spades, a wooden cart and then located the dead miner. 
Out of 15 miners trapped inside the coal mine since December 13 last year, only one body of a miner from Chirang district was recovered and handed over to his family members on Saturday.
The flood inside the rat-hole coal mine was of significance, especially because the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered an interim ban on “rat-hole” coal mining in the state from April 17, 2014.
The tragedy came to light after five miners escaped the coal pit.

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