Lumthari: A team leader from the Indian Navy and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel went inside the 370-foot-deep mine, where the 15 miners remain trapped,  to measure the actual level of water inside the mine shaft, said officials on Sunday.

Nearly 200 rescuers from various agencies were deployed at the site. The Navy divers arrived at the site with all their equipment at around 1.30 pm Sunday. The divers can operate up to 100 feet in a closed container-type situation, a district official said. A team of 25 CIL personnel reached the site along with survey teams.

JS Gill, Engineer-in-chief, CIL (Retd) said, “Navy divers have gone inside. Let’s see what is recovered by them. If nothing is recovered, then we’ll pump out the water. Pumps have arrived but generators haven’t. After generators come, it’ll take 5 days to pump out water.” The 10 high-powered pumps were brought by the Odisha Fire Service team.

East Jaintia Hills district SP Sylvester Nongtynger said that at least two pumps will have to be lowered down to the water level inside the mine shaft to begin the operation. Odisha chief fire officer S Sethi said that his team was ready to pump the water out. “Our only concern is that if we install the pumps now, the carbon exhaust may suffocate the entire mine shaft,” added Sethi.

The miners have been trapped in the mine in the Ksan area of Lumthari village in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district since December 13, after water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it.

The NDRF is conducting rescue operations with the help of Navy, the NDMA and Coal India Ltd. “The Navy divers have reported that they have the capacity to go a depth of 100 feet, whereas the NDRF divers can go to a depth of 30 feet,” East Jaintia Hills district SP Sylvester Nongtyngerthe said.

(With PTI inputs)