It has been 16 days since the 15 coal miners went missing after the mine at East Jaintia Hills in Lumthari village in Meghalaya was flooded by a Lytein river. The rescue operations have been going on in full force, however, due to the mine being illegal, there is no blueprint of the mine for the teams to search for those trapped.
The NDRF team has confirmed to Republic TV on Saturday that the miners are not in the main shaft and are probably in one of the rathole tunnels. This has also made it harder for the rescue teams to look for the miners as there is no record of the rathole tunnel in the illegal coal mine.
The NDRF team has also said that there is no question of concluding the rescue operation right now and that they will get a sense of what is happening by Sunday.
K Singh, Asst Commandant NDRF on miners trapped in East Jaintia Hills #Meghalaya, "We haven’t been able to recover anything today, except the 3 helmets that were recovered in the beginning, but we're trying. Since it's evening, rescue operations to continue tomorrow at first light."
The rescue teams are also waiting for high-pressure pumps, as the earlier pumps have not been as effective to remove the water. The diving teams from the NDRF teams have checking constantly if the water levels have been changed. But the water level has remained constant so far.
The rescue teams are using not just using high pressured pumps but other equipments also. They had used SONAR earlier but as the tunnel is too deep, at least 350 feet, it did not work.
The illegal rat-hole coal mine is located at Lumthari village near Khliehriat, the headquarters of East Jaintia Hills district. It got flooded when water from nearby Lytein river gushed into it on December 13, trapping the 15 diggers.
Currently, the NDRF and the Odisha Fire Services have teamed up for the rescue operations.