One miner dead in Meghalaya mine

Shillong, May 16 (IANS) One miner has died and two more are trapped inside a flooded coal pit in Meghalaya, officials said Thursday.

Four miners got trapped and one was crushed to death when cables of a crane snapped midway in the mine in South Garo Hills district Tuesday.

Officials managed to retrieve the body of the miner and rescued two others from the pit with the help of locals.

But since the water level in the pit is not receding, efforts to save the two other miners were making little headway, an official said.

The two rescued miners were in hospital, C.P. Gotmare, district magistrate of South Garo Hills, told IANS.

Gotmare added that chances of survival of the trapped miners were bleak. “I don’t think there will be any survivor. If they come alive from the pit, it will be a miracle,” he said.

Police have registered a case against mine owner C.D. Sherpa for negligence, said Davis R. Marak, the police chief of South Garo Hills.

This is the second major mine accident in South Garo Hills.

In July last year, 15 miners were buried alive inside a coal mine when they accidentally punctured the wall of an abandoned mine, filling their mine with water.

Meghalaya has a total coal reserve of 640 million tonnes. The coal is high in sulphur content and is mostly of sub-bituminous type. Mining in the state is controlled by the indigenous people who own the land.

Coal mine accidents are common in the mountainous state because of unscientific mining commonly known as “rat hole mining”, a primitive type of surface mining.

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