Meghalaya illegal mining: Families appeal rescuers to get at least even a finger or bone
Shillong, Jan 20: The families of four of the 15 miners trapped inside a 370-foot-deep coal mine in Meghalaya on Saturday urged rescuers to retrieve a decomposed body spotted by divers so that they can perform the last rites.
"We want the body," said Manik Ali, whose 20-year-old brother Monirul Islam is among the 15 miners who were trapped in the rat-hole mine.
"Even if they manage to get a finger or a bone out of the shaft, it is fine for us. We will at least be able to bury the dead with some respect," said Ali.
Ali, representing the families of three trapped miners from Assam's Chirang district, and Aminul Uddin from Hojai district were called by the district administration and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Thursday to see a video footage showing the body.
Navy divers have found a body of one of the 15 trapped miners and also spotted several skeletons in the flooded rat-hole coal mines in Meghalaya East Jaintia Hills district, weeks after a multi-agency search operation was launched to rescue them, officials and sources said Thursday.
The situation is worse now as government officials said it would be extremely difficult to retrieve the body intact since it was in a decomposed state.
The Naval personnel spotted the decomposed body of one of the miners about 200 ft along the horizontally dug small hole and managed to pull it about half way to the bottom of the shaft, operation spokesperson R Susngi told PTI.
The 15 miners were trapped in an illegal rat-hole coal mine in Lumthari village of East Jaintia Hills district since 13 December after water from a nearby river gushed in. The rescue efforts picked up days later when several agencies were roped in as the rescuers were struggling to pump out water from the the mines.