With the recovery of two more bodies on Sunday, the death toll in the coal mine collapse at Lalmatia open cast coal mine climbed to 18. Operations at the mine were being run by Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) in Jharkhand’s Godda district.
RR Mishra, officiating Chairman and Managing Director of Eastern Coalfields, a Coal India subsidiary, on Sunday said, “Two more bodies were recovered today. So in total 18 bodies have been recovered so far.”
“There was dense fog in the morning. But since there is less fog now so the rescue operation is still under way,” Mr Mishra said, adding that, sniffer dogs have also been pressed into service.
Mr Mishra had on Saturday said, “We are carrying on the rescue operation in a systematic manner so that the situation does not aggravate as the debris is too much and it should not fall.”
Danger zones have been declared around the place of the incidents to restrict the entry of people there. Moreover, police and CISF officials have been stationed to restrict entry of people in the danger zone, he had said.
Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL), the consultancy arm of Coal India Ltd, has deployed magneto meters along with imaging system for locating magnetic and conductive material up to a depth of 80 meters, the statement said.
The incident occurred at around 7:30 PM on 29 December when a massive mound of earth came crashing down on excavators at the Lalmatia open cast coal mine. This is the worst such disaster in over a decade. Rescue operations were launched immediately after the incident.
Senior officials of Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) had arrived at the site soon after, and an inquiry was launched into the incident.
Thirteen excavators and dump trucks which were swamped under the debris have been recovered.
(With inputs from PTI)