Second body pulled out of Meghalaya coal pit

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Shillong, Feb 27  A combined team of the Indian Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Wednesday pulled out a second body from the 370 feet deep flooded coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district where 13 miners still remain trapped since December 13, 2018, an official said.

“The highly decomposed unidentified body was pulled to the water surface by the Indian Navy’s underwater remotely operated vehicle (UROV) and then taken out in a bucket-type container to the higher grounds at 1.20 p.m.,” a rescue official told IANS.

This is the second body to be pulled out of the coal mine – 77 days after 15 coal miners were trapped inside the rat-hole coal pit – by the Indian Navy divers after they retrieved the first body identified as that of Amir Hussain from Assam’s Chirang district on January 23.

The rescue official said the recovered body was detected on Wednesday evening with the help of a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 230 feet.

He said the body has been handed over to the Meghalaya Police and is now being taken to Khliehriat hospital for autopsy.

“It was a painful exercise as they had to slowly pull out the body as the flesh started tearing off when the ROV tried to get a grip on it,” the official said, adding that efforts are on to pull out the third and fourth body which were located on Saturday and Monday.

Fifteen miners were trapped after water gushed into the illegal coal mine located in Ksan village, about 130 km from here, after the miners are believed to have punctured into another wall of another coal mine.

The tragedy came to light after five miners escaped from the coal pit.

The coal pit disaster took place despite an interim ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state by the National Green Tribunal since April 17, 2014.

The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the rescue operations, has told the government that the trapped miners must be taken out of the mine, “dead” or “alive”. – IANS

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