A file photo of coal miners. Photograph:( Reuters )
Air Force's Lockheed C-130 Hercules took off from Bhubaneswar earlier in the day to reach Guwahati, Assam. The equipment will be taken to Meghalaya.
The Indian Air Force on Friday ordered one of its military transport aircraft to carry high-power pumps from Odisha for the aid of 15 miners who are trapped in a rat-hole mine in Meghalaya, news agency ANI reported citing sources.
Air Force's Lockheed C-130 Hercules took off from Bhubaneswar earlier in the day to reach Guwahati, Assam. The equipment will be taken to Meghalaya where the miners have been stuck for over two weeks.
Director General of Fire Services B K Sharma said a 20-member team led by chief fire officer Sukanta Sethi left in a special Indian Air Force aircraft with equipment, including high-power pumps.
"They will assist local authorities in the rescue of the trapped coal miners," he said.
Stating that the team was carrying at least 20 high-power pumps, an official said each pump is capable of flushing out 1,600 litre water per minute, news agency PTI reported.
"Odisha is among the few states endowed with the experience of handling such calamities," the official said.
The team will first study and analyse the situation at the site before working out plans for the search and rescue mission, the official said.
Noting that carrying out rescue operation in a coal mine will be a unique experience for Odisha Fire Services personnel, he said, "Our men are well-trained and capable of handling any situation."
They have successfully carried out difficult rescue operations within and outside the state, including Kerala in the past, with the help of well-trained and experienced personnel, said the official.
15 miners have been trapped in a 370-foot-deep illegal coal mine in the Ksan area of Lumthari village in Meghalaya since December 13. The illegal mine is reported to have been flooded, exhibiting bleak chances of miners' survival.
Air Force Sources: Indian Air Force C-130J transport airport has taken off from Bhubaneswar carrying NDRF personnel and equipment to help in the process to rescue the #MeghalayaMiners, the aircraft will land in Guwahati— ANI (@ANI) December 28, 2018
"The situation is very, very difficult, so (chances of) survival is also very, very, low depending on the situation because all the area is flooded," NDRF spokesperson Anil Shekhawat told EFE.
Rescue teams are posed with a challenge of clear the water in the area first, subsequently proceeding with the rescue operation in the vertical mine shaft which will require the team to dig tunnels into the ground.