Families of trapped Indian miners lose hope they are still alive after 18 days

The families of 15 miners who have been trapped underground for 18 days say they have given up hope of them being found alive.

An operation to save the workers, who were in the illegal mine when it flooded on December 13, has been stepped up.

But loved ones fear it is already too late to save the miners in Guwahati, northeastern India.

"We want his body back so that we can give him a decent burial," said the uncle of 26-year old Omar Ali, who is among those trapped in the mine.

Thousands of workers, including children, have been killed in so-called rat-hole mining, which involves them crawling into narrow shafts on bamboo ladders to mine for low-quality coal.

The state banned such unregulated mining in 2014 but it still goes on in some places.

A survivor of the disaster, Sayeb Ali, 24, said he too thought there was little chance of anyone coming out alive.

He said 17 miners were trapped in the accident. It was not clear why his figure differed from the government account of 15 miners.

Mr Ali said he has survived as he was not deep inside the very narrow mine shaft when disaster struck.

"The people who were digging coal went deep inside and cart-pullers like me and the other four who survived were about eight to 10 feet inside," he told Reuters.

India is one of the world’s most dangerous countries to be a coal miner, with one miner dying every six days on average in 2017, according to government data.

Government officials said on Monday rescuers have only been able to find three helmets and two axes underground.

Officials said the navy on Sunday sent 15 divers with cameras and specialist equipment into the mine in an attempt to reach the bottom of the pit, but they had found nothing.

"The problem is there is murky water that entered the rat-hole pit from a nearby river," Santosh Kumar Singh, an official with the National Disaster Response Force, told Reuters.

Read More

Top news stories from Mirror Online

  • Mum faces jail after baby drowned
  • Tributes to M1 death teen
  • Horrific flesh-rotting drug hits UK
  • Spies close in on ‘White Widow’

Source: Read Full Article