Almost 4 months on, search continues in flooded Meghalaya mine

Almost 4 months on, search continues in flooded Meghalaya mine

It began on December 13 last year, and still doggedly continues. The Search for miners trapped inside a coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. After the navy left following India-pak tensions after March 2 this year, the operations are now mainly confined to dewatering of the main shaft and other adjoining mines.

Navy team at work on Dam site, TT file photo

You may recall that from December 13 last year, 15 miners were trapped inside a coal mine at Ksan under Saipung police station. Though five bodies have been detected since then, only two have been retrieved with the help of the navy’s remotely operated vehicle.

The navy had arrived at the site at December end.They left on March 2 following increased tension between India and Pakistan soon after the Pulwama attack.

Now that army and navy personnel have been withdrawn with the army, the operation now has been confined only to dewatering of the mines only, started on December 14, a day after the mishap was reported.

“We now have to just keep a watch on the water surface as the process is still on,” an official involved in the operations told local media.

Official spokesman R. Susngi said dewatering of the main shaft and its adjacent one is still on. Coal India Limited pumps, which operated for 34 hours from Sunday evening, drew out 45,90,000 litres of water.

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Pumps of the Pune-based German firm, KSB, operated for 32 hours since Sunday, and discharged 63,36,000 litres.

Only one pump of Kirloskar Brothers Limited from Pune drew out 28,80,000 litres of water.

“The National Disaster Response Force and the State Disaster Response Force are still at the site to assist other agencies when required,” Susngi added.

The first body, which could be retrieved only on January 24, and identified as that of Amir Hussain from Assam’s Chirang district, was detected by the ROV on January 16. Hussain’s family members were able to identify the 35-year-old from the two tabeez (amulets) he had worn.

The second body, identified as that of L. Dimonme Dkhar, a local from the nearby Lumthari village, was retrieved on February 27.

The body was the fifth to have been detected by the navy’s ROV. However, the three other detected bodies have not been retrieved as yet.

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