Updated: January 24, 2019 7:02:53 am
The Indian Navy lost track of the disintegrating body of a miner, among at least 15 who are feared dead, while trying to pull it out from an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district.
A remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV) lost its grip on the body on Tuesday evening and it could not be detected despite efforts on Wednesday.
The skull, wrists and leg had disintegrated during initial attempts to retrieve the body, the state government had submitted in the Supreme Court earlier this week.
R Susngi, official spokesperson of the rescue operation, said, “The Indian Navy today resumed their work with the ROV inside the main shaft to locate the remains that slipped from the jaw of the ROV since yesterday evening while trying to pull it upwards. Due to presence of pipes , cables, debris in the main shaft, their efforts to locate (the body) have not been successful till now.”
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At least 15 workers were trapped and are feared dead inside the mine in Ksan area on December 13 — and rescue operations have since been on. Illegal rat-hole mining has continued to thrive in Meghalaya despite a ban imposed in 2014 by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Last week, a body was detected inside the coal mine — at a depth of 160 feet and at a lateral distance of 210 feet into the rat-hole tunnel — with the help of footage from a Navy-operated ROV.
In the status report submitted to the SC on Monday, the state government also said that the bodies of at least 14 other miners are “presumably” behind this disintegrating body detected on January 16. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has told the media several times that extracting the body was “next to impossible”.
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