New Delhi (CNN)Thirteen miners are feared dead in India after the shaft of a mine they were illegally digging collapsed and flooded in the remote northeastern state of Meghalaya.
13 miners feared dead in India after being flooded in illegal mine
Officials told CNN efforts are underway to pump water out of the coal mine in the state's East Jaintia Hills district after the miners became trapped Thursday.
"There is a river nearby and due to the overflowing of water, they have been trapped inside," said F.M. Dopth, deputy commissioner of the East Jaintia Hills district's administration. "We are pumping the water out right now with the help of a generator. The mine is inside a jungle near (the) Lytein Rver and was being operated illegally."
The miners are believed to be stuck 300 feet deep, Dopth said.
India's National Green Tribunal banned unscientific and unsafe coal mining in the state in 2014 in a method described as "rat-hole mining." The term is used because of the small size of the holes dug.
However, illegal mining carried out by private landowners and the local community is widespread.