Miners still trapped inside 370 ft coal pit in M’laya

Miners still trapped inside 370 ft coal pit in M’laya
NDRF personnel and state rescue team at the site.
Correspondent SHILLONG, DEC 14 | Publish Date: 12/14/2018 11:04:14 AM IST

The fate of the thirteen miners trapped inside a 370 feet coal pit filled with gallons of water here in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district is still unknown, an official said in Friday. 

Officials at the accident site, about 130 km East of Shillong, said their chances of survival were bleak. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials called off the rescue operation for the day due to darkness. Residents of Lumthari village, said after the accident five miners somehow managed to escape as water gushed inside the 370-feet coal pit.

“The matter came to light only after the five miners managed to come out of the coal pit and alerted others about the accident,” the villagers said. DIG in-charge of Western Range, A.R. Mawthoh and Sylvester Nongtnger, the police chief of East Jaintia Hills, visited the accident site and monitored the rescue operation. “We are making all efforts to rescue the trapped miners from the coal pit. We are pumping the water out of the pit with the help of generators but the water level has not receded,” Nongtnger told journalists,

He said the actual number of coal miners trapped inside could be more or less. He said the police have launched a manhunt to arrest James Sukhlain, the coal mine owner, who was absconding, and others. “We have registered a case against them for violating NGT order banning coal mining,” Nongtnger said.

A team of 72 members from the NDRF, 23 members from the State Disaster Response Force and five members of the Fire and Emergency service were deployed to rescue the trapped miners.

The accident inside the coal pit on Thursday was of significance, especially after the National Green Tribunal had ordered an interim ban on “rat-hole” coal mining in the state from April 17, 2014.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said: “Appropriate action will be taken at appropriate time against the people who are involved in the illegal mining.” He said NDRF as well as the SDRF are doing all they can to save the trapped miners.

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