Shillong, Jan 17: Nearly a month after 15 miners got trapped inside the illegal rat-hole coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, Navy on Thursday Navy divers have detected the body of one person from the illegal coal mine from a depth of more than 200 feet. Navy said that the search operations for the rest of the miners are on.
The body was detected at a depth of nearly 160 feet inside the 370-foot-deep mine in East Jaintia Hills and will be taken out under the supervision of doctors, the navy said.
The body was first spotted by rescue teams, including the Indian Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), with the help of an Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (UWROV). It is to be noted that these specially-designed vehicles are used by the navy divers to locate objects underwater.
The 15 men, who went down the narrow pit on December 13, were trapped after water from a nearby river and from an adjacent mine flooded it.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had said the search must continue as "miracles do happen". The top court had asked the centre and the Meghalaya government to consult experts and continue efforts to rescue the miners.
The mine is located on top of a hillock fully covered with trees. To reach the mine, a person has to pass the 30-foot wide Lytein river three times. No habitation was found nearby and 80-90 illegal coal mines dot the area.
The slow progress in the rescue efforts in Meghalaya has been contrasted with the dramatic rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in July last year, which drew a massive international audience.
(with PTI inputs)