India coal miners trapped, suggesting that the miners may be dead

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India coal miners trapped, suggesting that the miners may be dead.

The rescue operation to evacuate the 15 miners trapped inside a rat-hole mine in Meghalaya is still underway even as agencies are racing against time to find them alive. On Friday, an Indian Air Force plane carrying high-power pumps and NDRF personnel took off from Odisha to join the rescue effort. Also on board the aircraft is the Odisha Fire Services team. The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules plane will land in Guwahati, from where the powerful pumps will be taken to Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills.

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The workers were trapped in the ‘rat-hole’ mine on December 13, after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it. While the water level in the mine has not receded, the rescue personnel have not attempted to pump out any water since Monday, as the two 25-HP pumps have proved ineffective.

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The Indian Air Force decided to join the rescue efforts after the National Disaster Management Authority requested help to airlift the rescuers. Director General of Fire Services B K Sharma said a 20-member team led by chief fire officer Sukanta Sethi left for Shillong in a special Indian Air Force aircraft with equipment, including high-power pumps. “They will assist local authorities in the rescue of the trapped coal miners,” he said.

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The team is carrying at least 20 high-power pumps, apart from other high-tech equipment and gadgets. Each pump is capable of flushing out 1,600-litre water per minute. The team will first study and analyse the situation at the site before working out plans for the search and rescue mission, the official said.

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