Meghalaya Mine Tragedy: High turbidity of water hits Navy’s bid to retrieve dead miner


Shillong, Feb 2 (IANS) Indian Navy divers are struggling to retrieve another miner's body from the flooded 370-feet-deep coal mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, about 130 km from here, due to high turbidity of water, an official said on Saturday.

"The turbidity is limiting visibility inside the rat-hole mine, besides too many other obstructions, affecting the rescue operation," a senior official told IANS.

The unidentified miner's body was detected last week by a remotely operated underwater vehicle. 13 more miners remained trapped for the last 51 days in the illegal mine.

"Nonetheless, they (Navy) are making all efforts to retrieve the body, which could be possible only after water becomes clear. We are also consulting experts," he said.

The remotely operated underwater vehicle of the Navy found the body of a miner — identified as Amir Hussain of Assam's Chirang district — on January 16, 32 days after 15 miners got trapped in the coal mine on December 13 as water gushed in.

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

The mining was on despite the National Green Tribunal's (NGT) interim ban on "rat-hole" mines in the state since April 17, 2014.

Meghalaya Home Minister James Sangma said the search and rescue operation was being carried out for the remaining 13 trapped miners as per the Supreme Court directions.

On Monday, a platoon of soldiers joined the multi-agency search and rescue operation at Ksan village, about 130 km from state capital.

The government has roped in several Central and private agencies including the National Disaster Response Force, the Odisha Fire Services and Coal India (CIL) for the rescue operation.