The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 72 personnel along with 23 members of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to carry out rescue operations to retrieve 13 miners trapped inside a coal mine at Lumthari in East Jaiñtia Hills district, with no sign of seeing the bodies on the first day of operation on Friday.
The rescue teams were also joined by five members of the Meghalaya Fire and Emergency service deployed at the mining site to rescue the trapped miners.
The teams, however, called off the operation due to darkness, and the operation may resume on Saturday morning.
The coal mine about 370 feet deep, is located near Lyteiñ river and the coal pit was filled with water that gushed inside from the river.
Though police were not sure if some coal mine labourers had managed to escape when the incident happened, but the people of Lumthari village narrated a different story.
The residents said that people of Lumthari came to know about the incident after five miners managed to escape when water gushed inside the coal mine.
Police said that at present they came to know that 13 laborers were trapped inside the coal pit from the people of Lumthari village because three miners from the village have been also trapped inside along with 10 other miners who hailed the plain belt of West Garo Hills district and some from Assam.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge Western Range, A.R. Mawthoh also visited the spot on Friday and he was accompanied by the Superintendent of Police of East Jaiñtia Hills district, Sylvester Nongtnger.
Mawthoh, who also monitoring the rescue operation, said that the actual number of miners who were trapped inside the cal mine could more or less than 13.
Police have registered a case against the mine owner, James Sukhlaiñ for violating an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which banned coal mining in the state. According to the SP, the mine owner was absconding and manhunt is on.