India steps up efforts to rescue trapped coal miners


NEW DELHI: High pressure pumps and divers from the Indian Navy were brought to Ksan in northeastern India on Saturday (Dec 29) to aid rescue operations for 15 coal miners trapped underground.

The miners have been trapped since Dec 13 after floodwaters rushed through an illegal “rat-hole” mine.

Indian Navy diving experts were lowered into the flooded mine for an inspection ahead of rescue operations set to resume on Sunday.

An official from the National Disaster Response Force said the mine is about 300 feet (91m) deep and filled with at least 70 feet (21m) of water.

India miners

A water pump is being prepared at the site of the coal mine. (Photo: Reuters)

There has been no sign of life so far as rescuers struggled to enter the mine where the workers are located.

Ten high pressure pumps will be used to flush out water from the pit to allow divers to reach the trapped miners.

The mine is an old, illegal so-called rat-hole mine, common in Meghalaya but dangerous as the coal is pulled out from narrow, horizontal seams.

Workers, including children, descend hundreds of feet on bamboo ladders to dig out the coal, often leading to accidents.


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