BHUBANESWAR: Five people have been confirmed dead after a pile of waste collapsed over locals trying to lift coal from an abandoned open cast mine owned by state-run Coal India Ltd in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police said on Wednesday.
Police said the mishap occurred early on Tuesday in Gopinathpur in the district of Dhanbad, located about 400 km (250 miles) from the state capital Ranchi.
The top police official in the region said the deceased were not professional miners.
"In that patch, mining work was not going on. Those who died were local coal pickers," Dhanbad Senior Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Kumar told Reuters.
Though the overall number of accidents have progressively decreased in India, coal mining remains one of the most dangerous professions in the country. One coal miner died on the job every 12 days on an average in 2020, according to government data.