January 17, 2019 / 6:43 AM / 5 months ago

Divers locate one body in flooded Meghalaya mine after 35 days

Indian Navy personnel come out of a coal mine during a rescue operation in Ksan, in Meghalaya, December 31, 2018. REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika/Files

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Indian navy divers found the body of one of 15 miners who went missing in a flooded coal mine in Meghalaya more than a month ago, officials said on Thursday.

Rescuers have been struggling to pump water out of the 370-feet-deep illegal “rat-hole” coal mine, where the men have been trapped for 35 days.

“One body has been detected by Indian Navy divers using a remotely operated underwater vehicle at a depth of 160 feet,” the navy said on Twitter.

“The body has been pulled up to the mouth of the rat-hole and shall be extracted out of the mine under the supervision of doctors,” it said.

Rat-hole mines killed thousands of workers in Meghalaya before the National Green Tribunal banned the practice in early 2014.

The mine, located at Ksan near the village of Lumthari in Meghalaya, became flooded after 15 miners went down the narrow pit on December 13.

A police official, who asked not to be identified, said a team of doctors, paramedics, and ambulances had been sent to help recover the body.

The slow progress of the rescue efforts has been contrasted with the dramatic rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded cave last July, which drew a massive international audience.

Reporting by Zarir Hussain; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Paul Tait

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