A heavy transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force carrying seven high-power pumps landed at the Assam's Guwahati airport, from where they high-preassure pumps will be transported on road to Lumthari village in Meghalaya, where 15 labourers trapped in a flooded rat-hole coal mine.
The plane took off with the heavy tools from Bhubaneswar in Odisha earlier this morning, after low-capacity pumps used by the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF turned out ineffective in extracting water from the collapsed mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills. NDRF senior officials said water from an adjacent abandoned mine was flooding the rat-hole mine, making it unsafe for their divers to operate. The high-power pumps arrived three weeks after the mine collapsed on December 13..
On Thursday, divers detected a foul smell emanating from the pit, giving rise to fears that it could be from that of decomposing bodies below.
Mining was banned across mineral-rich Meghalaya in 2014 after environmentalists raised concerns of groundwater pollution. However, that did not deter local residents from illegally extracting coal on the sly through rat-hole mines, which involves digging into the side of hills and then burrowing horizontal tunnels to reach coal seams.
Here are the updates on Meghalaya rescue operation:
A group of Indian Navy divers are being flown from Visakhapatnam to join the operation to rescue 15 miners trapped in a flooded rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya since December 13, official sources said on Friday.
Odisha stands in solidarity with the families of trapped coal miners in #Meghalaya. A 20 member team of specially trained Odisha Fire Services personnel is joining the rescue operations. Wishing them the best as #Odisha prays for the safety of the miners. #OdishaWithMeghalayapic.twitter.com/fzpSHDyTG8- CMO Odisha (@CMO_Odisha) December 28, 2018