Thirteen people are feared to have died after an illegal coal mine flooded in the East Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya State in northeastern India on Thursday 13 December 2018. Local authorities are tyring to pump water out of the mine with a view to mounting a rescue bid, but it is feared that there is little hope that any of the miners will be found alive. The mine is located in the village of Ksan, close to the River Lytein, and is reported to have flooded when the waters of the river rose, causing it to burst its banks.
Rescue workers outside a flooded mine in the East Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya State on Friday 14 December 2018. CNN.
The mine is of a type known locally as a 'rat hole', due to the small nature of the entrance holes, in which miners dig into the side of a hill using hand tools, until they reach a seam of valuable minerals, usually coal, but limestone, kaolin, clay, granite, glass sand, and uranium ore are also sometimes excavated in this way. Mines of this type were banned in Meghalaya State in 2014, following an incident in 2012 in which fifteen miners perished, but they are still widely dug by local owners and villagers.
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