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17 trapped in Meghalaya coal mine – Survivor

Coal News - Published on Tue, 18 Dec 2018

Image Source: Hindustan Times
A miner who survived the mishap that struck an illegal coal mine in Meghalaya on Thursday claimed 17 men, not 13 as widely reported, are stuck inside. Sayeb Ali, a 25-year-old coal miner from Assam's Chirang district, shared how he and four others who were on the ground had tried to save their fellow workers stuck inside the 380-foot rat-hole mine but failed. He said "There was one new person who joined work at the mine the previous night. He went inside with me in the box that is used to carry coal to rescue the trapped labourers. He went till 150 feet. The man then fell with the box as it got unhooked from the chain. I could see him fall inside. I was in the same box, but I somehow got hold of the chain and came back up.”

Ali recalled that the incident took place around 8.30 am on Thursday, when there were four miners working on the ground. Two local labourers were engaged in loading the coal into trucks, one was keeping a count of the number of trucks being loaded, and the fourth was supervising the mining operations. Ali said his job was to go inside the mine to fetch coal in a box, which was fitted to a crane. He told "I was coming up with the box full of coal and was five feet away from reaching the ground when suddenly, I heard the fierce sound of wind coming from inside. When I looked down, I saw what I won't be able to forget my entire life. There was water everywhere, and it suddenly filled the mine till till around 240 to 250 feet. By the time I reached ground level, the whole mine was flooded. I jumped out of the box and informed the four others working there, who already had suspected what was going on. It took only five to seven minutes for the water to fill the 380 feet hole mine.”

The operation at the illegal coal mine had been on for a month. It was the second week of work for Ali at the mine, and all the labourers were to wrap up work within three days. He claimed that apart from the 13 reported missing, there were two other Nepali workers and two more local workers trapped inside.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 18 Dec 2018
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