A team of 11 naval divers will join the mission to rescue over 15 people, trapped in a 320-foot-deep mine at Meghalaya's Jaintia Hills for 16 days, early this morning. The divers as well as high-powered pumps required to drain the pit have already reached the site.
A press release from the Navy said an Indian Air Force aircraft carrying the divers and specialised equipment, including underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles, took wing from Visakhapatnam to Guwahati this morning. A chopper flew the team to the nearest helipad at Khleihriat, after which they were driven to the site by road.
Divers in the Indian Navy rank among the most respected in the world.
The Navy had recently sent a recce team comprising an officer and two clearance divers to the accident site to assess the nature of the rescue operation. A team from Kirloskar Brothers Ltd -- a heavy equipment company that has agreed to assist in the rescue efforts -- also dropped by to survey the situation.
However, things are looking a little too bleak already. Rescue operations had to be suspended earlier this week after low-capacity pumps being used since the accident on December 13 proved incapable of drawing water from the pit faster than the rate at which it was being flooded by the nearby Lytein river.
A National Disaster Response Force official at the site said their rescue team had found the water too high for diving even on the first day. The high-powered pumps reached the mine only now due to bureaucratic delays, he added.