The Indian Navy on Sunday detected a skeleton, possibly of another missing miner, trapped deep inside the 370-feet-deep coal mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district, officials said.
At least 15 miners were trapped after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into the illegal rat-hole mine in Lumthari village in the Ksan area on December 13 last year. Two decomposed bodies were spotted earlier and out of the them, only one body could be recovered, the officials said.
On Sunday the rescue operations, the longest in the country, continued for the 74th day.
The Army has also joined the rescue operations along with the Navy, the NDRF and other agencies.
"The underwater ROV of the Indian Navy on Sunday detected skeletons of the third miner deep inside the coal mine. Efforts are on to retrieve it," a senior district official told news agency PTI.
He said the skeletal remains were detected over 150 feet away from the bottom of the 370-feet-deep vertical mine shaft where the miners have been trapped. Operation spokesperson R Susngi said the "completely" decomposed body was detected and efforts are on to retrieve it.
The second body located last month but it had slipped away from the jaws of the ROV.
The process of pumping water out of the mine is also on with three different organisations such as the Coal India Ltd, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd and KSB, discharging over 1 crore litres of water in a span of 24 hours, he said.
The Supreme Court is monitoring the operation closely and the matter will come up for hearing on Monday.