The rescue operation to find 15 miners trapped in a flooded rat-hole mine in Meghalaya’s East Jainitia Hills district hit a roadblock on Tuesday after high powered pumps being used to draw out water faced technical problems, PTI reported. A team of Navy divers and personnel from the Odisha Fire Services and Coal India are trying to save the miners, who have been stuck since December 13.

“Odisha Fire Service is trying its best to run the machine and insert pumps inside to take out the water and check water level in the main shaft,” ANI quoted district PRO R Susngi as saying. Five of those trapped are from Assam, he added.

The depth of the main vertical shaft is a little over 113 metres, Susngi said, quoting the Navy. The water level in there is 49 metres.

On Tuesday, Navy personnel surveyed the main shaft of the main in Ksan using unmanned remotely operated vehicles before the pumps stopped working. They were being assisted by the National Disaster Rescue Force.

On Monday, the Navy personnel had found some wooden structure inside the mine, and a rat hole with coal at its mouth. According to them, visibility is only around one feet at the bottom of the main pit and hence the water needs to be pumped out before any rescue attempt can be launched.