January 17, 2019 / 6:45 AM / 6 months ago

Divers locate one body in flooded Indian mine after 35 days

FILE PHOTO: Divers use a pulley to enter a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, India, December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Indian navy divers found the body of one of 15 miners who went missing in a flooded coal mine in a remote corner of the country 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 in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, 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 India’s environmental court 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 Dec. 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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