The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Thursday deployed a dog squad to find survivors among the 15 coal miners trapped in a rat-hole mine at Rongsa Awe village in the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. Two NDRF teams have also started looking for surface victims.

First Battalion Commandant of the NDRF, Alok Kumar Singh, told The Hindu that the dog squad was capable of detecting survivors or fresh bodies of victims at least 40 to 50 feet beneath the surface. Based on that, operations were being carried out to look for surface victims.

He, however, said that as details and diagrams of the mine were not known, the outcome of search operations was uncertain.

Inputs from the local people suggested that the miners could be trapped at least 100 feet below. In such a case, it would require specialists, equipped with heavy machinery and earthmovers, to reach the victims, he said.

Deputy Commissioner in-charge of the rescue operation, R.P. Marak, said it was very unlikely that there would be any survivor in the mine. There was heavy downpour in the area and the mine was full of water despite 10 pumps being used continuously to pump out water. The district administration would be awaiting the outcome of the NDRF operations before deciding the next move.

Keywords: mining flood