Father and Son Die After Being Sucked Into Smoking Sink Hole
A father and son have been burned alive after being sucked into a flaming sink hole that has been blazing for more than 100 years in India.
Teenager Rahim Khan was sweeping an area in front of his shop in the town of Jharia, in the country’s north eastern Jharkhand province when he was sucked into a crater which opened up in the road.
His desperate father, Bablu Khan, 40, saw him slip into the hole before he too was killed after being buried under debris as he tried to save the 14-year-old.
Pictures show smoke coming from the burning sink hole which was caused by fires that have raged underground in the area for decades.
Soon after, large plumes of smoke began to rise from the crater.
A rescue team arrived and dug an underground passage where temperatures of over 80 degrees were recorded.
The team tried to increase the diameter of the crater, with the help of earth movers, in an attempt to locate the bodies. But after 28 hours of searching, they had found nothing.
Devastated Rukshana Khatoon, who lost her husband and son in the incident, pleaded with the authorities to at least find the bodies or ‘bury us along with them’. The state government has said it will provide compensation for the family of the deceased.
Two years ago it was reported that residents were dying of breathing disorders and skin diseases at alarming rates as underground fires that have raged for nearly a century continued to blanket the area in toxic smoke.
Jharia has more than 70 fires which have burned continuously beneath the earth’s surface since 1916.
Here the infernos have been left to burn unhindered following a coal mine collapse in the resource-rich region – which produced a blaze so intense authorities have balked for decades at the effort required to extinguish it.
Fuelled by billions of dollars worth of coal lying under the surface, the fires cause sinkholes which twenty years ago swallowed 250 homes within four hours.
Toxic fumes – which include poisons such as sulfur, sulfur, carbon and nitrogen oxides – are a part of everyday life where coal emissions are causing devastatingly high rates of breathing disorders and skin diseases among locals.
Residents and children spend their days clamoring over the hot ground to eke out a living by chiseling out pieces of coal to sell at local markets.
The first coal mine fire was detected in the area in 1916 and is believed to be due to a open cast mine not being correctly decommissioned.
In the decades since, it has spread to become truly unmanageable.
And despite repeated warnings that the town and surrounding area is on the brink of an ecological and humanitarian disaster, little has been done to help residents despite promises to move the entirety of the town.
It is believed that if the remaining coal still sitting below the surface – estimated at 1.5billion tonnes – was to burn at a similar rate, the fires could last for another 3,800 years.