GUWAHATI: There was little headway on Wednesday in the ongoing operation by multiple agencies, led by the Indian Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), to rescue at least 15 miners who have remained trapped inside a 380 feet deep illegal rat-hole coalmine in East Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya since December 13 and are feared dead.
According to official sources, the level of water at the old shaft, which is located a few yards from the main shaft, was reduced by 16 inches following pumping by the Odisha Fire Service. The abandoned old shaft and the main shaft are interconnected underground. [READ HERE]
The level of water in the main shaft is said to be in excess of 150 feet and the visibility is poor. The agencies such as Navy, NDRF, Coal India and State Disaster Response Force are working towards bringing it down to 30 meters.
“The (Odisha) Fire Service personnel brought down the level of water by 16.4 inches between 10:30 am and 5:10 pm (on Wednesday). Coal India Limited is preparing to put a 100 HP submersible pump that can discharge higher volume of water. Navy divers can work after the water in the main shaft goes down to a manageable level,” the sources said.
At least 20 miners had entered the coalmine on December 13. Later, five managed to escape the flood inside the pit. One Saheb Ali, who is among the five survivors, claimed 22 miners, not 20, entered the mine that day. He said the trapped miners should be dead by now.