Rescue operations to search for 15 miners trapped in an illegal rat-hole mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hill continued on the 18th day on Monday as Navy divers re-entered the main pit of the 350-feet-high flooded coal mine, the Hindustan Times reported.
The miners have been trapped in the illegal rat-hole mine since December 13 after it got flooded by water from a nearby river. Unidentified officials of the National Disaster Response Force said the divers could not reach the bottom of mine on Sunday as the level of the water was 125 feet rather than 70 feet.
On Monday, divers entered the shaft to survey the bottom of the mine using an UnderWater Remotely Operated Vehicle or UWROV. A joint team of the National Disaster Response Force, the Navy and the Odisha Fire Service is running the rescue operation.
The Navy has reportedly requested the district administration to assist in drawing the water out of the pit so that it comes down to a safe diving limit. These measures are being undertaken to rule out decompression sickness, reported NDTV. The National Disaster Response Force had suspended the rescue operation a few days ago as equipment powerful enough to draw the water out of the mine was not available.
An 18-member team of the Navy equipped with diving sets, remotely-operated vehicles, re-compression chambers and rescue gear began its operation on Sunday. “In these conditions, we can dive up to 45 meters [146.7 feet] but it will be dangerous for us to get into the rat holes at the bottom because sharp edges can damage diving suits and air tubes and endanger the diver,” an unidentified Navy diver told the Hindustan Times on Sunday.