Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday said the teams attempting to save the 13 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district since Thursday were faced with a “very difficult and complicated situation”, ANI reported.

“The National Disaster Response Force is trying to save them, but it looks very difficult,” Sangma was quoted as saying. “We are trying really hard but the water level is really high.”

The chief minister said he had spoken to Union minister Kiren Rijiju the day after the incident “and requested him to send more professional help”. Sangma said no matter how many pumps were being used to draw out the water, the force of the water prevented the rescuers from entering the mine.

Meanwhile, a miner who reportedly managed to escape told The Shillong Times that 17 workers are trapped inside the mine.

Congress MLA Azad Zaman travelled to the coal mine, which is located at Ksan near the Lyteiñ river, The Telegraph reported. He requested the East Jaintia Hills administration to procure more pumps. “After taking stock of the situation, the NDRF advised that at least 10 more pumps should be used to drain the water from the mine or it will not be possible for its personnel to go inside,” Zaman said.

East Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner FM Dopth said they will request for more pumps as well as help from local residents.

Five of the 13 miners belong to Zaman’s Rajabala constituency in West Garo Hills. He will meet Sangma along with the families of the miners in Shillong on Monday, according to The Telegraph.

The police arrested the owner of the mine, Jrin Chullet, on Friday but said his aide is absconding.