The chances of survival of 15 Indian coal miners trapped inside a flooded mine for nearly two weeks appear slim, officials said on Wednesday.
An operation to rescue the miners, trapped since Dec. 13, is ongoing in the East Jaintia Hills, in the Indian state of Meghalaya, with the involvement of National Disaster Response Force teams.
“The rescue operation is going on and we’re trying our best. But the water inside the mine is still rising. I personally see the survival chances dwindling,” Kyrmen Shylla, Meghalaya’s disaster management minister, told Anadolu Agency over the telephone.
He said the Meghalaya government is seeking help from the capital. “The government here has approached the central government requesting help. We’re hoping to get help from them very soon,” said Shylla.
Local media reported the trapped miners had been using a banned method known as “rat-hole” mining, where miners dig very small tunnels to get inside and extract coal.
On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi, the head of India’s main opposition, appealed to the prime minister for help, saying on Twitter: “15 miners have been struggling for air in a flooded coal mine for two weeks. … PM please save the miners.”
By Ahmad Adil in Chandigarh, India