The group of 15 coal miners went to work in the mine in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya on 13 December and have been trapped underground for 13 days. The victim’s families are praying for their safe return.
Indian rescue workers have renewed their efforts to save them but hopes of finding them alive became less on Wednesday after floodwaters rushed through the illegal “rat-hole” pit.
“Only God’s grace and some miracle can help them to be alive,” Kyrmen Shylla, Meghalaya’s disaster management minister, told Reuters by telephone from the state capital Shillong.
Federal court has banned mining in the mineral-rich state in 2014 as local communities said it was polluting water bodies.
But still the locals are illegally doing this using workers, including children, to descend hundreds of feet on bamboo ladders to dig out the coal which often leads to accidents at such mines.
More than 15 miners were killed in 2012 after they were trapped in another flooded rat-hole mine in Meghalaya. Their bodies were never able to recover.
> Shiuly Rina