|Rescuers carry pumps at the site of a flooding accident of Wangjialing Coal Mine, sitting astride Xiangning County of Linfen City and Hejin City of Yuncheng City, in north China's Shanxi Province, on March 29, 2010. Water stopped rising Monday morning in the flooded coal mine in Shanxi Province, where 153 workers are believed to be trapped, the rescue headquarters said. Six pumps were pumping up to 300 cubic meters of water per hour round-the-clock at the site and survival chances of the trapped workers were looking better, according to the rescue headquarters. (Xinhua/Yan Yan)
BEIJING, March 30 -- Exhaustive efforts continued this morning to reach 153 workers still trapped in a flooded coalmine in northern China's Shanxi Province, and ongoing rains only made the task more difficult.
Local authorities said the condition of the men was unknown, but rescuers pushed into the night more than a day after the unfinished Wangjialing coal mine flooded Sunday afternoon.
In all, 261 workers were in the mineshafts located nearly 1,000 meters underground, and authorities said 108 of them were able to escape by being lifted to the surface.
Wang Junfeng, a spokesman at the rescue headquarters, told the Global Times last night that they were lowering more and more pipes into the mine to discharge water so they could get to the workers.
Wang said the rain was difficult to work in, but the biggest obstacle to reaching the men was the still-accumulating water in the shaft.
He said it was unclear whether the trapped workers were still alive, but as long as there was still that possibility, efforts would continue.
China National Radio reported that the water filled 579 meters of the shaft, quoting rescuers as saying that the survival chances were better for the 84 workers believed trapped above the water.