As the situation intensifies, the Indian Navy divers have sought help to Meghalaya in the search operation to find the 15 miners trapped in the a water-filled coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills since December 13. After receiving orders to join the rescue mission from the National Disaster Response Force team, the Navy swung into action by first dispatching the advance team to the site.
In order to help, the Navy divers and trucks loaded with high-power pumps made their way to the mine in the remote region. A heavy-lift transport plane of the Air Force carrying ten high-power pumps landed at the Guwahati airport.
The National Disaster Response Force team and the State Disaster Response Force sought help from the Indian Navy as the pumps available with them were not equipped to drain out the pit that kept filling with water in the narrow ‘rat-hole’ coal mine in the East Jaintia Hills district. Rescue operations were suspended on Monday, after the NDRFs and SDRFs low-powered pumps being used to suck out water failed to help.
After a serious of continuous efforts, the state government pulled in a renewed search by multiple agencies, including the Navy, Odisha Fire Service and Coal India Limited. Informing about the same, the NDRF deputy commandant Santosh Kumar Singh, said, “The Navy and Odisha Fire Service teams reached the spot along with at least 10 high-power water pumps in the afternoon. We briefed them about what we have done so far. They made a preliminary survey and decided to start from Sunday morning.”
The NDRF handed over the rescue operation to the other agencies but will remain a part of the exercise. While the 15-member Navy team from Vishakhapatnam has five divers, the Coal India Limited team includes a mining and a disaster expert.
The teams had reached Guwahati on Friday morning but had a tough time reaching the place 220 km away. It has been noted that the place where they have been put up is far from the ill-fated mine, which can be reached after walking for at least 3 km. The machines have to be taken part by part and assembled at the spot.