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Meghalaya rescue: Navy sends down 5 more remotely operated vehicles

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World Coal,

Yesterday, the Indian Navy sent out five more unmanned remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to survey nearby abandoned mines to discover whether they are connected to the main shaft in which 15 miners got trapped in last month.

This follows an unsuccessful attempt on Monday, in which an unmanned, Navy ROV was sent down the 370 ft deep rat-hole coal mine in Meghalaya, but got stuck.

"The underwater remotely operated vehicle got stuck at the bottom of the 370 ft mine where the depth of water is over 160 ft” the operation spokesperson, R Susngi said.

How the machine got stuck is still yet to be established, but rescue officials at the site suspect that the vehicle could have got entangled with some parts of the pump put in by Kirloskar Brothers Ltd.

The miners have been trapped since 13 December and yesterday marked 27th day of the Meghalaya mine disaster which has also drawn the attention of the Supreme Court.

As of yesterday, two out of four mines that may be connected to the main shaft were sanitised and the unmanned ROV explorations were also undertaken at night.

However, according to Susngi, the ROV exploration could not be continued as the diameter of the rat-holes inside the shafts are too small and further exploration will continue as and when feasible.

Coal India Ltd drained nearly 11 lakh litres of water having run their pump yesterday for 8 hours. The Odisha Fire Service reportedly pumped out 5.4 lakh litres using two pumps in another adjacent abandoned shaft. 

East Jaintia Hills District Deputy Commissioner F M Dopth, who is also the Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority, informed the state government that it might take 30 days, or up to two months, to pump out the water from about 20 shafts in the area. 

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