January 24, 2019 / 11:19 AM / 4 months ago

Rescuers recover one body from flooded mine in Meghalaya, 40 days after rescue began

Rescuers work at the site of a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, December 23, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Rescuers have recovered a body from the site of a “rat-hole” mining accident in Meghalaya, an official said on Thursday, more than 40 days after the operation to rescue 15 miners began.

The miners were trapped on Dec. 13 when their illegal mine was flooded. The state banned unregulated mining in 2014 but it still goes on in some places.

“We have recovered the body and it is heavily decomposed,” said Santosh Kumar Singh, an official from the National Disaster Response Force.

Thousands of workers, including children, have been killed in so-called rat-hole mines, which involve miners crawling into narrow shafts on bamboo ladders to dig for low-quality coal, in Meghalaya.

Rescue officials located the body last week, but it took time to bring it to the surface from inside a crevice. The officials sought guidance from forensic experts.

Families and relatives of the trapped miners have given up hope that any of them will be found alive.

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Edited by Martin Howell

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