Six workers in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills district were killed in a crane accident while working at an abandoned coal mine site on Thursday.
E Kharmalki, deputy commissioner of East Jaintia hills district told EastMojo the accident happened at an abandoned coal mine in Sarkari near Rymbai village.
According to district officials, all the workers who lost their lives in the accident were from Barak Valley in Assam. The accident happened when the crane box, used to go down a deep pit, snapped and broke apart, taking the migrant workers down a 100-feet deep mine (approximately).
“We are still trying to ascertain what these workers were doing at an abandoned coal mine. They were perhaps carrying out some earth excavation work there. There is no coal in the pit or the surface there,” the DC said.
The district magistrate has conducted an inquest of the dead bodies at the site, which were sent to the Community Health Centre in Khliehriat in East Jaintia Hills district for post-mortem on Friday.
Kharmalki said bodies of five of the six workers have been identified, and their families have been informed about the tragic accident.
The Meghalaya Police is carrying out further investigations to ascertain the cause of the accident. The department is also trying to find out the owner of the abandoned mine. A senior police officer in the district, however, told EastMojo that no coal was found at the site of the accident.
“How can you say it’s a coal mine when we did not find any coal there,” the official said, on the condition of anonymity.
Earlier, in December 2018, Meghalaya saw a similar mining accident when 15 miners were trapped in a mine in Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district. After relentless efforts, only 5 miners could be saved and bodies of the other 10 could never be retrieved from the 370-feet deep flooded tunnel.