The pace of rescue operations picked up as 42 survivors were pulled out from a coal mine in China, flooded for over a week, with rescuers hopeful that at least 90 of the 153 trapped miners could be saved.
A total of 42 survivors had been taken out from yesterday to noon today, said Liu Dengzheng, spokesman with the rescue headquarters at the Wangjialing coal mine in north China's Shanxi Province.
While nine mine workers were rescued last night, 33 have been pulled out alive since morning today, after remaining trapped in arduous conditions for over a week.
Rescuers, who are racing against time to save maximum possible lives, said they hope they would be able to rescue a total of 90 survivors from the flooded mine, state-run Xinhua agency said.
More survivors with clothes covering their eyes are being lifted out by rescuers.
"It is miracle. It is all worth of our efforts, no sleep for several days," Wei Fusheng, a rescuer said as he burst into tears.
Rescuers entered the flooded Wangjialing coal mine last evening to search for the 153 trapped workers.
Swaying lamp lights were seen from the V-shaped lane of the flooded mine last evening, which led to the rescue of the first group of nine survivors.
More survivors trapped under the flooded Wangjialing coal mine for about 200 hours in north China's Shanxi Province were taken out of the shaft this morning.
As rescue teams pulled out more and more survivors, state run CCTV telecast live the rescue operations.
Thousands people gathered at the site cheered as rescue teams brought out survivors on stretchers.
One of the survivors, named Li Guoyu, 38, from central China's Henan Province, told doctors that they had been unable to pass urine for two days, because they dared not drink the murky water flowing in the tunnel.
Thousands of people kept standing along the road at midnight and burst into applause when the ambulances carrying the survivors passed by.
"I would be more than happy to see whoever is brought out of the mine, even if he is not my father," said a young man waiting for his family member to return to safety.
In a letter sent to the rescue site, Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang expressed sympathy to the survivors on behalf of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao and asked rescue workers "to race against time and go all out to continue the rescue work".