“The body has signs of decomposition and efforts are on to retrieve it,” a state government official said.
“The body was found floating 210 feet below the surface and has now been pulled up to 100 feet. It’s on the verge of disintegration,” he added. Experts said the corpse could disintegrate any time during the process of retrieval. The ROV also spotted “some skeletons” inside the mine.
Images of body to be sent to families for identification
The skeletons could be of the other trapped miners since the water there has high sulphur content, which can decompose bodies very fast,” an official said.
Water keeps seeping into the extremely narrow ratholes, which are not mapped. This is hampering retrieval operations. Rescue workers have been trying to flush out water from the mine, which is more than 370 feet deep and is situated near the Lytein river in the East Jaintia Hills district.
Images of the body captured by the ROV will be sent on Friday to the families of the miners for identification.
On Thursday, East Jaintia Hills deputy commissioner Frederick M Dopth requested the families of three miners from Lumthari village and two miners from Assam’s Chirang district to have a look at the video footage and identify the body.
Rescue personnel from the Odisha fire service pumped out 4,05,000 litres of water between 11am and 3.30pm. Two pumps belonging to Coal India Ltd have been working 19 hours a day and flushed out 43,09,200 litres of water on Thursday.
The ROV owned by Plenys-Chennai Technology carried out sonar mapping of the shaft and detected one more rat-hole.
“In addition, Kirloskar Brothers Engineering has been trying to install its pumps. Until now, it hasn’t been able to do so because of some technical problems,” the state official said. National Disaster Rescue Force personnel, too, have been assisting the rescue operations.