Rajasthan mine collapse: Chief vigilance officer of Hindustan Copper dies, 14 rescued

Hindustan Copper Limited's Chief Vigilance Officer Upendra Kumar Pandey died after a lift collapsed at a mine in Rajasthan's Neem Ka Thana, police said on Wednesday.
Rescue and relief work underway after a lift collapsed at Kolihan mine, in Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
Rescue and relief work underway after a lift collapsed at Kolihan mine, in Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Jaipur | Hindustan Copper Limited's Chief Vigilance Officer Upendra Kumar Pandey died after a lift collapsed at a mine in Rajasthan's Neem Ka Thana, police said on Wednesday.

Fourteen others were pulled out and sent to a hospital in Jaipur in a rescue operation that lasted several hours following the accident Tuesday night.

An HCL vigilance team from Kolkata and others were being lowered down a shaft in a "cage" Tuesday night when its cable snapped, trapping them at a depth of 1,875 feet, police said.

Additional Director General (ADG) of Rajasthan Police Anil Paliwal said the rescue team recovered the body of Chief Vigilance Officer Pandey from the mine.

A vigilance team of 15 personnel of HCL, a Central government enterprise, had gone down the mine for an inspection and while returning, the cable of the cage broke, police said, adding the rescue team pulled out the personnel in multiple rounds on Wednesday.

In a statement, the HCL said, "An accident occurred at Kolihan copper mine of Khetri Copper Complex (a unit of HCL), Khetrinagar, Rajasthan at around 7.30 pm on May 14."

It further said that in the accident, one person died and 14 others suffered serious injuries. The company is taking all steps to bring normalcy and resume operations at the mine.

In Delhi, Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao said an inquiry will be ordered in the incident.

"I had been in the same lift a few months back. It was all good...we will get an enquiry done and find out what happened," Rao told reporters.

Earlier, police said the SDRF control room received information about the incident at around 10 pm on Tuesday following which a rescue team was rushed from Jaipur.

SDRF team commander Ravi Verma along with nine jawans and the rescue team of HCL reached the injured with the help of another lift. They gave first aid to the seriously injured and brought them from -72 metre level to zero metre level (sea level) with the help of a trolley, police said.

The injured were taken out to the base at plus 64 metre level with the help of an improvised stretcher, a pulley and a rescue rope.

Thereafter, the injured were taken out from the base by mine vehicles and sent to the hospital, police said, adding three people were taken out in the first round, five in the second round, and the remaining seven including Pandey were taken out in the third round.

Pandey had taken charge of the CVO of HCL in June last year.

The 14 personnel who were rescued are Khetri Copper Complex unit head GD Gupta, Kolihan Mine Deputy General Manager AK Sharma, Senior Manager Vidyut Vinod Singh Shekhawat, Assistant Deputy General Manager AK Bera, Chief Manager (Mine)Arnaya Bhandari, Assistant Deputy General Manager Yashoraj Meena, Assistant Deputy General Manager (Vigilance) Vanendu Bhandari, Photographer Vikas Pareek, Senior Manager Research Niranjan Sahu, Security Officer Karan Singh, Manager Preetam Singh, Senior Manager Mine Ramesh Narayan Singh, Harsi Ram and Bhagirath.

They were admitted to a private hospital in Jaipur.

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