Update: The death toll rises to 18 with the recovery of two more bodies on Sunday.
Update: The death toll climbed to 17 in the coal mine collapse at Lalmatia open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) even as rescue operations were on Sunday underway at the site.
Ranchi: The number of deaths in Jharkhand coal mine cave-in has risen to 16 with the recovery of five more bodies on Saturday, police said.
“Five more bodies have been recovered on Saturday. Two bodies were recovered in the morning and three in the afternoon. The rescue operation is going on,” a police spokesperson said.
“There are chances of some more people still trapped in the debris,” the spokesperson said.
The tragedy occurred at the Rajmahal Opencast Project of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) around 7.30 pm on Thursday.
The relatives of those killed took the visiting ECL officials hostage on Saturday morning at the accident site. Police, however, managed to rescue them after three hours.
Rescue operations were being carried out by the National Disaster Response Force with assistance from the ECL, Bharat Cooking Coal Limited (BCCL), the state government and experts.
In a statement, the Coal Ministry said that senior officials from the Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) were at the site and have started an enquiry into the incident.
The Coal Ministry has termed the incident “unprecedented”.
An area of 300 metres length by 110 metres width solid floor of the overburden dump area slid down by about 35 metres involving around 9.5 million cubic metres of earth material.
“This could be due to failure of the bench edge along the hidden fault line/slip,” it said.
Besides the probe by the Director General of Mines Safety, a “high level committee of experts” was constituted by Coal India Limited (CIL) to investigate the causes of the accident.
The Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand has also announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs. 25,000 for the injured.