January 1, 2019 - As rescue efforts to save the lives of 15 coal miners trapped in Meghalaya entered the 19th day, Navy divers on Monday again entered the flooded mine. However, there was no sign of any major breakthrough. The miners got trapped in the Ksan mine in, Lumthari, East Jaintia Hills district after water from a river nearby flooded the mine.
Mining expert Jaswant Singh Gill suspected that the mines in the area are interconnected and the theory was also agreed to by locals.
Here are the top 10 developments that we know so far:
1. Navy divers entered the flooded 370-foot rat-hole mine and stayed inside the shaft for three hours with a hi-tech gadget, under water remotely operated vehicle (UWROV), but found the visibility to be very poor, according to operation spokesperson R Susngi.
2. During their three-hour stay inside the shaft, the divers found some wooden structures and a horizontal hole, commonly termed as "rat hole", with coal at its mouth.
3. According to some reports, a survivor, who is among the five men who narrowly escaped the coal mine about 14 days ago, said there is no way the miners will come out alive.
4. Navy divers said search operations would be feasible only after the water level inside the shaft is reduced to a "safe diving limit". As the situation stands, it would take five more days to pump out the excess water that has flooded the rat-hole mine. The depth of water from the surface till the bottom of the pit is expected to be over 150 feet, Navy officials said.
5. Six divers from the Navy and the NDRF went down the shaft of the mine on Sunday and spent around two hours to trace the miners but could not detect anything.
6. More than 200 rescuers, including 14 members of the Indian Navy, 72 members of the NDRF, 21 Odisha fire fighters, and 35 Coal India Limited officials along with state disaster response teams have been deployed to carry out the rescue operations.
7. The site is being cleared for the Odisha Fire Service to start pumping water from the main shaft, he said.
8. At least 10 high-powered pumps from the Odisha Fire Service, along with 21 personnel, are stationed at the spot.
9. There are at least 80-90 other abandoned mine shafts that are full of water near the affected mine.
10. Mining expert Jaswant Singh Gill suspected that the mines in the area are inter-connected and the theory was also agreed to by locals.