Shillong: A day after a survivor of the Meghalaya mining accident said that there was no way the trapped miners would come out alive, the Navy divers and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams are prepared to dive in once again in the rat-hole cave in order to rescue the 15 miners who have been trapped down there since December 13.
A team of divers from the Navy have been airlifted from Vishakhapatnam and are being pressed into action to locate the miners. The Odisha Fire and Emergency Services have also been pressed into service with their 10 high-powered pumps today to dewater the flooded mine.
Stating that the rescue teams will begin their operations today, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Assistant Commandant Santosh Kumar Singh had on Saturday said, “The Navy divers and I went down inside the mine and preparatory exercises were conducted. I hope that all the rescue agencies will begin the operations at the first ray of light tomorrow.”
With the chances of miners surviving becoming dim day by day, family members of at least seven trapped miners had already given up hope to rescue their near ones alive and requested the government to retrieve the bodies for last rites.
Divers from the Navy and the NDRF went inside the flooded Meghalaya mine on Saturday to conduct a recce and measure the level of accumulated water. The water level is estimated to be more than 77-80 feet in the vertical shaft of the rat-hole coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district.
On an earlier occasion, the NDRF had contradicted reports which stated that the trapped miners were dead on the basis of the foul smell emanating from the cave.
The rescue operation of the 15 trapped miners could not proceed further on Saturday due to technical issues concerning manpower and machineries, district officials said. The 15-member Navy team, equipped with specialised diving equipment, arrived at the site in the remote Lumthari village.
A senior district official said pumping of the water from the 370-foot-deep mine was yet to resume as technical experts handling the pumps were preparing for the job. The NDRF personnel have been engaged in the operation at the mine since December 14, a day after the disaster took place.