East Khasi Hills:
Multi-agencies personnel used high-powered pumps to drain out 28 lakh litres of water from the main shaft, where 15 miners got trapped, but Navy divers on Thursday found no change in the water level in the rat-hole mine to resume search operation, officials said.
Rescuers using pumps from Coal India Ltd, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd and the Odisha Fire Service have managed to pump out 2.1 crore litres of water from the mines, including the main shaft and the abandoned ones in the nearby which might be interconnected to it, till Thursday, they said.
But, still, there has been no significant drop in the water level in these mines, leaving rescuers clueless where and how to look for the diggers, they said.
Kirloskar Brothers Ltd pumps, which was operational from 7 pm Wednesday evening and continued to run for 11 hours, have pumped out 28 lakh litres from the main shaft, the official said.
Operation spokesperson R Susngi said the Navy has conducted searches in at least six mines, including in the main shaft, for the trapped diggers, but there has been no success.
According to the Navy, the water level in the entire area was totally raptured and a search will continue in the adjacent mines, Susngi said.
At least 15 miners are trapped in a 370 foot-deep illegal coal mine at Khloo Ryngksan area of Nongkhlieh elaka under East Jaintia Hills district since December 13 last year.
At the vertical shaft of the mine, the water level is about 160 feet deep rendering the rescue divers from the Indian Navy and the National Disaster Response Force unable to perform safe diving as it is beyond their 100 feet diving capacity, Susngi said.
At least 200 rescuers from the Navy, NDRF, the Odisha Fire Service, State Disaster Response Fund, state Fire service and others from CIL and KBL are involved in the multi-agency rescue operations.
The accident at the mine, about 140 km away from the state capital, has thrown lights on the presence of illegal coal mining using unsafe and unscientific rat-hole methods despite the National Green Tribunal ban since 2014.
Another mine accident was reported last week in which two miners were dead when the mine collapsed.
The mine disaster had earlier drawn the attention of the Supreme Court which had come hard on the state government for not been able to trace the miners.