Meghalaya coal mine tragedy
Rescue operation in Meghalaya coal mine. File image.

The Indian Navy divers who went down to the ill-fated coal mine at Ksan in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district on Monday returned to the base after spending three hours there and said that search is feasible only when the water level comes down.

Also read: Meghalaya: Navy divers use ROV for search; pumping of water from coal pit to resume

An official update bulletin issued by the East Jaintia Hills district administration said this on Monday and added that the Navy divers stayed inside the shaft for three hours operating the Under Water Remotely Operated Vehicle (UWROV) and found some wooden structure and coal.

“The visibility is very poor inside the shaft. Mud is also found at the bottom. One rat hole was also found with coal at its mouth,” said the statement.

Also read: Navy experts dive till 70 feet down Meghalaya mine, exit

“At present the site is cleared for fire service Odisha to start the pumping of water from the main shaft. Other shafts nearby are also being prepared to pump out the water,” the state issued today said.

The joint operation started at 10 am by the Indian Navy and the NDRF. The Indian Navy entered the main shaft to survey the bottom of the sheet using UWROV.

The Indian Navy requested the district administration to assist in dewatering so that water level comes down to 30 meters or within safe diving limit. “The Navy divers will again commence diving. These safety measures are being undertaken to rule out decompression sickness (DCS),” it said.

Also read: Make coal mining legal to avoid such tragedies: Meghalaya Congress

The NDRF available on the site with two teams will provide all support and assistance to other agencies including Indian Navy.

The NDRF are providing all logistics and human resource help to Indian Navy.

“The Fire Services of Odisha are on the job at present will commence the pumping of at least three machines in the nearby shafts,” the officials said.

Earlier on Sunday, the Indian Navy divers dived till 70 feet down the coal mine but failed to trace anything.

The mine is total 370-feet deep.

Assistant commandant of NDRF, Santosh Kumar Singh said that the depth of the water inside the mine is too much. “The divers went till around 70 feet down but were not able to reach the ground level. The water is cold which makes the operation difficult,” Singh told on Sunday.

About 200 rescuers from various agencies are currently operating and assisting each others in the site.

Rescuers said that lack of a mine map is one of the major challenges faced by the rescuer.

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