Six miners plunged to their death in a 150-feet-deep pit at an abandoned coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills on Friday.
In December 2018, at least 15 miners had got trapped 370 feet in a similar rat-hole mine in the area. Despite over two-month-long efforts by multiple agencies, including the Indian Navy, the bodies of only a few victims could be retrieved. Five miners had managed to escape by climbing wires.
In Friday’s incident, the victims, who hailed from Assam, were said to be digging a tunnel with the help of a machine but it broke apart and they fell 150 feet deep inside, reported the New Indian Express.
However, NDTV quoted government sources who said there was no coal mine in the area and the workers were involved in cutting and shaping hard soil for other purposes.
The bodies were retrieved on Friday morning and kept at a hospital in Khliehriat for autopsy.
District Magistrate E Kharmalki said five of the six victims were identified and their families informed, the NIE report stated.
There have been several incidents of coal mine mishaps in the past in Meghalaya despite a blanket ban by the National Green Tribunal.