An accident occurred in the 6th and 7th pits of Tata Steels' Jamadoba coal mine at around 6.30 pm on February 20, 2004. Five employees were present at the site. Two of the employees made their way out, but the other three employees were trapped in the mine due to the inrush of water. Though exact details of the reasons for the incident are not available immediately, the rescue and recovery work began immediately after the incident was reported to the mine authorities. The de-watering of the area is in progress and is likely to be completed by this evening.
The employees, Vishal Mishra, Ajit Singh, Mrinal Bhadra (officers), Bindeshwari Singh, Mining Sirdar, and Abhay Nath Jha, overman, (supervisors) had entered the 11th seam of the 6th and 7th pits of the Jamadoba mine for inspection, when water rushed in through a drill hole in the mine wall. Mrinal Bhadra was outside the area and AN Jha escaped, but the others are still trapped. The trapped employees may have taken refuge in an air pocket and efforts are on to get them out. It may be noted that the affected part of the mine was not being worked.
This is further to the information given by Tata Steel to all members of the media last night. Despite the company's information given last night a number of media carried reports relying on rumours and unconfirmed news on television and in print, that about 16 to 90 employees were trapped in the mine. This is to confirm that these reports are entirely wrong, and were not based on facts. Some of the media have even reported that the trapped employees had died.
The deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police as well as members of the DGMS immediately rushed to the spot where Tata Steel officials were already engaged in rescue operations. Tata Steel is well equipped to handle such exigencies and such incidents have not happened in any of its mines in recent times.