The lone body that an Indian Navy rescue team found inside the rat hole mine in East Jaintia Hills district in Meghalaya was finally pulled out on Thursday, two days after it slipped from their grip.
An Indian Navy team, with assistance from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), managed to pull the remains of the highly decomposed body out of the 370-feet deep shaft after relocating it on Wednesday evening.
The body was located by the navy’s underwater remotely operated vehicle (UROV) on 17 January at a depth of approximately 160 feet and 210 feet inside the mine.
On 21 January, the Indian Navy had suspended the rescue operation of the body citing “too much disintegration”.
The Navy had not ruled out the possibility of the body breaking into pieces and disintegrating if attempts are made to retrieve it.
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.
The remaining 14 miners are still trapped inside the mine.
Coal India Limited, Odisha firefighters and Kirloskar Brothers Limited mounted rescue operations dewatering the abandoned coal mine shafts and the main shaft where the miners got 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, the water level remains the same.
The multi-agency rescue operation began only on the 16th day of the incident
The Meghalaya government had 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.