Efforts were hampered when three of the mine’s bosses and some technical staff fled, leaving no-one able to provide technical information related to the mine shaft for rescuers to plan their operation.
Twenty-seven miners were underground when the flood occurred in the Gaocun Coal Mine in Wu'an City, Xinhua News Agency said. Nine miners managed to escape.
Rescuers were trying to pump water out of the mine and rescue the remaining people, but were forced to rely on others miners' memories of the shaft to draft a rescue plan. Xinhua said a manhunt was underway for the three mine bosses.