Two bodies recovered from collapsed coal mine in Chhattisgarh, toll touches three

The accident occurred after five persons on Thursday afternoon illegally entered the abandoned open cast mine.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only. (File Photo| AP)

KORBA: Rescuers on Friday retrieved the bodies of two men who were trapped under the debris after a portion of an abandoned coal mine caved in at Korba district in Chhattisgarh, officials said.

A 17-year-old boy, who was also stuck with them, was pulled out in serious condition on Thursday night and hospitalised, they said.

The accident occurred after five persons on Thursday afternoon illegally entered the abandoned open cast mine of South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) in Dipka area under Hardi Bazar police station limits to extract coal, a senior police official said.

For a long time, locals had been burrowing through a part of the mine to steal coal, turning that area into a tunnel, he said.

The tunnel eventually collapsed, trapping the five persons who were illegally excavating coal at the time, he said.

Of them, Amit Saruta (17) managed to come out and also evacuated another person, identified as Laxman Markam who was seriously injured, he said.

Soon after being alerted about the collapse, teams of SECL, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and police reached the spot and launched a rescue operation to trace three others – Satrughan Kashyap (27), Pradip Kumar Kamro (18) and Laxman Odhe (17), the official said.

Markam was taken to a local medical facility from where he was being shifted to the district hospital when he succumbed to his injuries, he said.

"Rescue teams found Odhe in a seriously injured condition on Thursday late night under the debris and took him to the hospital," he said.

The rescue operation was called off after the bodies of Kashyap and Kamro were retrieved on Friday morning, he added.

"The condition of Odhe is said to be critical," said Mrityunjay Pandey, station house officer of Hardi Bazar police station.

SECL's public relations officer Dr Sanish Chandra said the mine has been closed for the last two years and it had only coal seams, which are found within sedimentary rock formations.

Despite SECL management regularly urging locals not to venture inside the abandoned mine, villagers ignore the instructions and go there to collect coal.

"It is a very unfortunate incident," he added.

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