KULTI: Around 40 members of National Disaster Response Force , Kolkata, recovered the decomposed bodies of three youths who had been trapped inside an abandoned coal pit of Eastern Coalfields Ltd at Aldih in West Burdwan’s Kulti block. The 16-hour operation took place on the night of Thursday and Friday.
The incident has put the spotlight on illegal mining in West Burdwan’s coal belts.
Kalicharan Kishku (19), Binay Murmu (27) and Santosh Marandi (22) had entered the gas-filled pit on Sunday and failed to come out.
The NDRF team reached Asansol on Wednesday night and started the operation around 7.40am on Thursday. Equipped with gas detectors and self-contained breathing apparatus, the first two teams entered the pit under team commander and inspector Sandeep Kumar Jha. They found a huge amount of nitrogen and carbon monoxide and little oxygen inside the pit where the youths had been trapped for almost four days.
The team faced difficulty in recovering the bodies as the cylinder they were carrying got stuck in the small mouth of the pit. “We then decided to dig the land beside it and found the bodies. Ki-sh-ku’s body was recovered around 9.50pm on Thursday, Mu-rmu’s at 11.40pm on Thur- s-day and Marandi’s at 12.10am on Friday. The three were residents of Akwan Bagan Majhipara under Kulti block,” said an NDRF member.
Jha told TOI: “We handed over the bodies to Kulti police station. ECL’s rescue team had failed to recover the bodies earlier. This is the first time NDRF members were successful in an operation in this zone. Earlier, they had failed in a mine operation in the northeast.”
A police officer said: “We sent the bodies to Asansol district hospital. After autopsy, we will hand them over to the victims’ families.”