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Rescue operation in Meghalaya mine enters 7th day

twitter-logoPTI | December 19, 2018 | Updated 22:42 IST

(Eds: Minor edits in para 2 & 3) Shillong, Dec 19 (PTI) The operation to rescue more than a dozen labourers, who got trapped in a Meghalaya mine last week, continued for the seventh day on Wednesday. The rescue efforts have so far failed to extricate any person as the water level in the flooded mine in East Jaintia Hills district has not receded, a senior official said. Superintendent of Police (SP) Sylvester Nongtynger told PTI that the family of a person, Assh Bahadur Limbu of Assam's Karbi Anglong district, has said he was among those inside. If the claim is true, then the total number of people trapped inside the mine now stands at 15, the officer said. He has said the exact number of miners trapped in the mine could not be ascertained as its owners did not maintain a logbook. The labourers have been trapped in the illegal "rat-hole" mine in Lumthari village of Khliehriat area -- around 80 km from Shillong -- since last Thursday after water from the nearby Lytein river had gushed into it. They are now feared dead as water from the river has been entering into the 370-feet-deep pit. The SP said over 100 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the SDRF and the police were at the site and water was being pumped out continuously from the mine. Doctors said the chances of survival of the trapped miners were diminishing every minute. "Taking into consideration that the miners could have escaped to higher and safer grounds, starvation, dehydration, compounded with the toxic gas underneath, is a cause of concern," they said. The authorities have not given up its efforts to rescue them, district Deputy Commissioner F M Dopth said. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had on Monday sought the help of the Union Home Ministry. The NDRF has suggested the district administration to ask the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to deploy submersible water pumps to reduce the water level. PTI JOP KK HMB

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