FOR RELEASE AT 01:01am BST, ONJULY 18
STORY TO MATCH: INVESTIGATION - Drowning for Sand: miners risking all for India’s building boom
SANDEEP KHAKHA, sand miner: I don't think anything.
I just think that I should get good sand.
And enough sand so that I can fill up the boat quickly.
If the sand above falls over you,
you are gone.
TITLE: Drowning for sand
SANDEEP KHAKHA, sand miner: I work at the sand port.
I dive into the sea
and get 250-300 buckets of sand [in one shift].
Then I come up and then I take a little rest.
TEXT: Along Vasai Creek, about 25 km north of Mumbai, up to 75,000 men are working illegally as sand miners.
TEXT: Illegal extraction of sand in India generates about $150 million a year.
SANDEEP KHAKHA, sand miner: It is all dark inside the water.
I have to judge where the sand is with my leg.
I then get a grip in the sand with my feet and press the bucket into the sand to fill it.
And then I pull the bucket out.
I wait four to fice seconds and go back.
TEXT: Divers descend to the creek bed up to 200 times over a 6-hour shift.
TEXT: They can make $15 for a boat-full of sand. The average daily wage in India is about $4.
RADHESYAM SAHNI, sand diver: I've been doing this work for 15 years.
I'm from Uttar Pradesh
but I have come here to work.
I work here for three to four months and then go back home to my children.
I will not let them do this work. It is very dangerous work.
TEXT: As more sand is mined, divers must go deeper. They are not given safety equipment.
LAKSHMAN BHAU KHOTAGE, sand miner: I have problems with one of my ears now, it bleeds. Blood comes out of it constantly.
In nice years, I spent around 16,000 rupees in total for my ear treatment.
LAKSHMAN DABU BHORE, sand miner: While I worked there, my head started hurting.
Blood started coming out of my ear and nose.
My chest started hurting.
After coming out from the water,
within 15 to 20 minutes of sitting on the boat in the sun,
my head would spin.
TEXT: A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation found that men are dying illegally mining sand, but their deaths go unreported.
CHANDRAKANT SHANKAR MEGHWALI: He is my son.
He died while working.
I used to work as a sand miner and, seeing me, he also started doing the same.
We don't know whether the bucket hit him or what happened.
It was the day after my son died, that his body floated up in the water.
SANDEEP KHAKHA, sand miner: Last year, I saw two divers die.
Their bodies were found on the third day.
I'm married, I have two children.
I speak to them every day.
They pester me with demands for gifts.
My mother asks me when I will come home. I tell her I will come back. There is work now.
I will come after it starts raining.