Rescuers work at the accident site of the Wangjialing Coal Mine in Xiangning County, north China's Shanxi Province, April 3, 2010. Seven rescuers entered the flooded shaft at 1:12 p.m. on Saturday with boats and other floatation devices to start the search for 153 trapped miners. (Xinhua/Gao Xueyu)
Pan Zengwu, deputy chief of the Shanxi provincial coal geological bureau, said this was apparently tied on by the trapped miners.
The flooding happened at about 1:40 p.m. on March 28 when underground water gushed into the pit, which was under construction. Altogether 261 miners were working underground at the time, of whom 108 were lifted safely to the surface.
If the trapped workers cannot be saved, the accident will be China's worst mining disaster in more than two years. In August 2007, a total of 181 workers died at two flooded coal mines neighboring each other -- 172 at one mine -- in Xintai, eastern Shandong Province.