A fourth heavily decomposed body of a miner who died after a rat-hole mine collapsed in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills was detected by the Navy today. Fifteen miners disappeared in the mine on December 13 last year after water from a nearby river flooded the mine.
The Navy used an underwater remotely operated vehicle to look for the miners when it detected the fourth body. It also found a wooden cart some 20 feet short of the body.
The underwater vehicle had detected the first body on January 16 and the second on January 26 in the rat-hole coal mine.
Of the 15 trapped miners, the Navy could recover only one body of a miner, Amir Hussain, on January 23. He was from Assam's Chirang district.
Teams from Coal India Limited, Kirloskar Brothers Limited and KSB continue to pump out water from the abandoned mine.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the rescue, had said the incident shows that illegal mining continues unabated despite the ban and the state may not be supporting it but has failed to contain illegal mining.
The top court was hearing pleas filed by several coal miners earlier this month seeking permission to transport extracted coal which was lying unattended at various places in the state.
A report of a three-member committee, headed by retired Justice BP Kakoti of the Gauhati High Court, had stated that there were around thousands of mines in Meghalaya and a majority of them were operating illegally.