In a major tragedy, six coal mine workers hailing from Assam were killed in the East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya on Thursday.

As per official sources, five miners died inside the mine and one succumbed to injuries later. Officials said all the deceased hail from Assam.

The incident happened at an old abandoned mine coal pit near the Dimasalang village in the Lafarge area. The miners were cleaning the abandoned coal pit.

Five bodies have been retrieved and five of the bodies have been identified. The bodies are currently at a community health centre near to the village for conducting post mortem examination.

District Magistrate E Kharmalki said five of the six victims were identified and their families informed.

The bodies will be later handed over to their relatives after the post mortem.

It may be mentioned that the incident has brought back memories of a similar tragedy inside a rat-hole coal mine in the State in December 2018.

At least 15 miners had got trapped in the ill-fated coal mine and despite two-month-long efforts by multiple agencies, including the Indian Navy, the bodies of only a few victims could be retrieved. Five miners had managed to escape by climbing wires.

Several incidents of coal mine mishaps have come to fore in the recent past in Meghalaya, which establishes that illegal coal mining is going on in the state despite restrictions.

In November last year, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed the Meghalaya Assembly that as many as 2,000 cases of illegal coal mining and transportation have been registered in the past five years.