Families of miners trapped underground give up hope

Indian Navy personnel come out of a coal mine during a rescue operation.
Indian Navy personnel come out of a coal mine during a rescue operation. Photo credit: Reuters

Relatives of at least 15 Indian miners who have been trapped in a 'rat-hole' mine for 18 days say they have given up hope any of them will be found alive.

"We want his body back so that we can give him a decent burial," the uncle of one of the trapped men, 26-year-old Omar Ali, said on Monday.

The workers were trapped on December 13 when an illegal mine in India's northeast Meghalaya state was flooded.

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

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

Government officials said 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 found nothing.

Reuters

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