Navy retrieves body of dead miner, no word on other 14 trapped miners

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Shillong :  A Navy team on Thursday pulled out a body from a 370-ft deep flooded coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district where no official is willing to confirm the fate of the remaining 14 miners, trappped since December 13.

A 15-member Naval team from Visakhapatnam will continue to search for the remaining 14 miners trapped inside the “rat-hole” coal mine with the help of the underwater remotely operated vehicle (UROV), a senior rescue official said.

The highly decomposed body of an unidentified miner was pulled to the water surface by an UROV and then taken out by a bucket crane.

The body was retrieved 42 days after the miners were trapped inside the mines which are on the lateral side of the 370-ft main shaft.

Soon after the body was brought to the top, a magistrate conducted an inquest and medical official conducted the autopsy at the spot in the presence of Deputy Commissioner F.M. Dopth and District Health and Medical Officer, Dr. Mitul Sangma, Rescue Operation spokesperson Reginald Susngi said.

He said the body is now preserved in the Community Health Centre at Khliehriat, the district headquarters of East JaiAtia Hills.

Khloo Ryngksan, known as Ksan village, is about 130 km from Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.

With none of the relatives of the trapped miners being present at the tragedy site, Additional Chief Secretary Peter Ingty said he has instructed Deputy Commissioner Dopth to inform the families of the miners about the recovery of the body so that they can come and identify the remains.

“The search operation for the other 14 trapped miners will continue and the Navy have lowered their UROV to locate them (miners),” Ingty told IANS.

The families of the trapped miners had said they want the “dead bodies” of the miners to be taken out as per the Supreme Court order.

The apex court, monitoring the rescue operations, has directed the government that the trapped miners have to be taken out of the coal mine “dead or alive”.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said there were no immediate plans to call off the rescue operations.

Meghalaya police have arrested the owner of the mine owner, identified as Jrin Chullet alias Krip Chullet, on December 14.

Sylvester Nongtnger, the district police chief, told IANS said the police have launched a manhunt to arrest Mohesh and James Sukhlain who are the managers of the mine.

Nongtnger said Sukhlain facilitates mine operations, while Mohesh is the person responsible for bringing labourers from Garo Hills and Assam.

The police have registered cases against the mine owner.

 Published on: Jan 24, 2019 at 21:58 IST


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