Over 30 days after 15 miners were trapped inside an illegal mine in Meghalaya, Indian Naval divers found one of them dead. Search is on for the remaining 14 miners.

The divers captured pictures of a body inside the 370-feet flooded coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district. The body has been pulled out to the mouth of the mine from where extraction will be carried out under the supervision of doctors.

The Indian Navy said that the body was detected at a depth of approximately 160 feet and 210 feet inside the mine located in Ksan village, 130 kilometres from Shillong.

“One body detected by Indian Navy divers using an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) at a depth of approx 160 feet and 210 feet inside a rat-hole mine,” the Navy spokesperson said in a tweet.

 

Fifteen miners were trapped on 13 December when water from the nearby Lytein River flooded a network of tunnels inside the mine. Five other miners managed to escape and alert the locals.

Coal India Limited, Odisha firefighters, Kirloskar Brothers Limited are dewatering the abandoned coal mine shafts and the main shaft where the miners are trapped.

Though high power pumps, including ten 63 HP pumps from Odisha Fire Rescue, managed to pump out several litres of water from inside the mine, reports say that the water level remains the same.

The multi-agency rescue operation began only on the 16th day of the incident.

The Meghalaya government has roped in several central agencies including a team from Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute and Chennai-based Planys Technologies in the rescue operation.

Coal mine accidents that have been rampant in the mountainous state for their unscientific “rat hole mining” habits even after a National Green Tribunal imposed an interim ban April 2014.