Rescuers heard tapping sounds Friday from the pipes in a flooded Chinese coal mine where 153 workers were trapped more than five days earlier, and another rescue team reportedly heard shouts, an official said.
The sounds at the Wangjialing mine in the northern province of Shanxi were the first signs of life since the mine was flooded Sunday afternoon, rescue official Zhao Chuan said.
Government officials say the flood was triggered when workers digging tunnels broke through into an old shaft filled with water. More than 1,500 rescuers have been working around the clock to pump water out of the mine.
Wen Changjin, an official from the news center set up at the site, said rescuers tapping on the pipes began to hear tapping responses from about 820 feet (250 meters) below ground at around 2 p.m.
Zhao told The Associated Press by telephone that he had heard from colleagues that another rescue team reported hearing people shouting underground as well but he could not immediately confirm that account. Wen said officials at the news center had not heard reports of shouting.