Jharkhand mine collapse: 7 bodies recovered, more feared dead

Seven bodies have so far been recovered while more than 20 persons were feared trapped and likely dead in from a caved-in coal mine in Jharkhand's Godda district on Thursday night.

The bodies were recovered during rescue operation that started this morning, Jharkhand director general of police (DGP) D K Pandey said.

The chances of survival of all trapped people were negligible, police said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das and enquired about mine collapse in the Lalmatia area of the state.

Meanwhile, Das has announced Rs2 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs25,000 for the injured. He also said that stern action would be taken against those responsible for the mine collapse.

A heap of mud caved in at the entry point of Lalmatia mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), the police said.

At the time of the cave-in at the Rajmahal Open Cast Mines of Paharia Bhorya site, more than 70 vehicles were inside.

Rescue operation could not begin due to night fog, the police said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team reached around 11 am from Patna. The local police and administration were also involved in the rescue operation. The Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS) has sent a team to the spot to investigate.

According to a DGMS official, the safety measures were overlooked during mining.

The locals said there was a crack in the heap of mud, which collapsed and blocked the entry point of the mine.

Mining operations were taking place about 200 feet beneath the ground.

 ''Union Minister Piyush Goyal had talked to me over phone and gave an assurance that an enquiry has been initiated in the incident and sterna action will be taken against the ones who are responsible for it, whether it be Central government or state government officials,'' chief minister Das told ANI.

''Such incidents are unexpected, we can't predict it,'' he said, adding that rescue operations are under way.

According to the chairman and managing director of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) and Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) Rajiv Ranjan Mishra the rescue work is under way and the team was able to locate one more body under the debris.

''A higher committee has been formed and a deputy general manager will also enquire,'' Mishra said. ''Prima facie what has been found is the entire surface has collapsed. This is a unique phenomenon. But let us see what the reports says.''

Misha further said that three excavators and seven dumpers were present there at the mining site.

''According to the rules, one person is allowed per equipment and as two dumpers fled during the incident, so, the number of people trapped may be less than seven,'' he said.

Meanwhile,  Goyal said government is assessing the situation and rescue efforts are underway.

According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), around 40-50 workers along with some machinery of a private company are suspected to be trapped under the debris.