Specialist pumping equipment is being used to help lower water levels in a flooded Swansea Valley mine as efforts continue to rescue four men.
Rescuers say divers who entered a flooded mine to help free the four trapped miners have been forced to return above ground.
Divers went into the Gleision Colliery, near Cilybebyll in the Swansea Valley, where the men have been trapped since yesterday morning, but they had to abandon their efforts after about 30 metres because of debris.
Rescuers remain optimistic about the welfare of the miners and specialist pumping equipment is now being used to reduce water levels in the mine.
Phillip Hill, 45, Charles Bresnan, 62, David Powell, 50 and Garry Jenkins, 39, have been trapped in the mine since 9:21am yesterday.
A fifth miner was critically ill in hospital after escaping as the flood water engulfed the drift mine yesterday.
Two other men who were with him escaped largely unharmed and were helping the rescue operation.
A retaining wall holding back a body of water underground failed, flooding the tunnel that the seven men were in.
Speaking to the Press Association Chris Margetts, from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “What we have determined is the miners are located approximately 90 metres underground.
“They are down a 250 metre main route into the mine. There are numerous little tunnels and old workings which all potentially have air pockets in.
“They are experienced miners, they know the layout of the mine, they would know where to go in this situation.”
He said they were pumping it out and, once they were in a position to search off the main shaft, they would then systematically look through the smaller tunnels and shafts.
“The conditions down there are favourable, it’s not raining, there’s water at the bottom but the air supply is good.”
He added that rescuers were very “hopeful and optimistic” that the miners could be freed successfully.
A multi-agency operation to rescue the four men is ongoing. The men’s families are being supported by family liaison officers while efforts continue.
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