Rescuers on Thursday pulled out the body of the only miner spotted inside the coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills District, where 15 workers have been trapped since December 13, the Hindustan Times reported. On Tuesday, Indian Navy personnel had used remotely-operated vehicles and managed to move the body a few metres, but could not retrieve it.

“The Indian Navy today resumed their work inside the main shaft to locate the remains that slipped from the jaw of remotely operated vehicle yesterday while trying to pull it upwards,” R Susngi, the spokesperson of the East Jaintia Hills district administration, had said on Wednesday.

Two personnel of the National Disaster Response Force, three from the Navy and an employee of a local hospital entered the mine shaft in two teams and pulled out the body from a depth of 170 feet on Thursday. The body was then sent to the Khliehriat Civil Hospital for autopsy.

The miners’ families have demanded that the bodies be taken out of the mine.

After the Navy first called off the operation to retrieve the body on Sunday, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma suspended the operation on Monday. The same day, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it would continue to search for the trapped miners. The National Green Tribunal had made coal mining illegal in Meghalaya in 2014.