A body retrieved from the coal mine in Meghalaya after 77 days on Wednesday, has been identified as that of Dimonme Dkhar, a worker from Lumthari village in the East Jaintia Hills district.
Dimonme was one of the three brothers trapped in the mine. However, the fate of his elder brother Melambok and cousin Shalabas still remains unknown, said an official.
This was the second body retrieved from the rat-hole coal mine at Khloo Ryngksan, where 15 miners have been trapped since December 13, 2018.
Divers from the Indian Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had on January 23 fished out the body of Amir Hussain, another labourer hailing from Assam’s Chirang district.
“He (the body) is Dimonme, my nephew, and we have identified him from his clothes,” Pressmeky Dkhar said.
The Navy team has detected two more bodies inside the coal mine.
“We are thankful to the Indian Navy and other rescue officials for making all efforts to retrieve the body. We are hopeful that they will also retrieve the bodies of Melambok, Shalabas and the other miners,” Pressmeky said.
15 miners were trapped after water gushed into the mine located in Ksan village, about 130 km from Shillong, after the miners are believed to have holed the wall of another coal mine.
The tragedy came to light after five miners escaped from the coal pit.
The coal pit disaster took place despite an interim ban on rat-hole mining in the state by the National Green Tribunal since April 17, 2014.
The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the rescue operations, has ordered the state government that the trapped miners must be taken out of the mine “dead” or “alive”.