New Delhi: The rescue team is battling against time as the rising water levels and a lack of effective machinery on Tuesday made it difficult to reach 15 miners trapped for nearly two weeks in a flooded mine in Meghalaya.
The workers were lost on December 13 after water gushed in from a nearby river, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya.
Dozens of emergency workers have since been racing against time to rescue the miners from a 106 metre (330-foot) shaft.
There has been no contact with the workers but their families are clinging to hopes that they are in an air pocket.
Problems in rescue ops
Rescue chief S.K. Shastri told AFP nothing has been heard from the miners, but that “in such cases we always presume they are alive.”
Engineers are struggling with ineffective machinery that cannot cope with the deluge in the pit. “The water level hasn’t gone down an inch — it increased after it rained,” Shastri said.
“The two 25 horsepower pumps were ineffective. We need up to 12 100 horsepower pumps to drain out water.”
A miner who survived the flooding told reporters five men escaped as water burst into the pit. “I was about five feet away from the ground that morning and on my way up, when I suddenly felt a lot of air and then saw water,” the 21-year-old said.