Authorities in Zambia said Tuesday they were frantically pumping water and mud from a Chinese-owned copper mine where seven miners were trapped underground.

The two Chinese workers and five Zambian ones were caught on Monday when water and mud entered the shaft where they worked at the Macrolink mine in Ndola, about 248 miles from the capital, Lusaka. Another miner escaped.

ZAMBIA REPORTS OVER 30 PEOPLE TRAPPED BENEATH RUBBLE AFTER OPEN-PIT MINE COLLAPSE

Copperbelt Province police commanding officer Peacewell Mweemba told The Associated Press that authorities were mobilizing equipment from various mining companies for what they hoped was still a rescue mission.

“For now, we are still hopeful that they are still alive,” he said.

Zambian flag

The Zambian flag is flown at an African Cup of Nations soccer match in Libreville, Gabon, on February 12, 2012. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Local media reported that the miners were working at around 257 yards underground.

Local media reported that the miner who escaped, Penjani Kaumba, said he noticed water coming from a tunnel and immediately informed colleagues, but it was too late.

Zambia is one of the world’s largest copper producers, and Chinese firms have invested billions of dollars in mining there.

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Another mine accident in Zambia in November killed at least 11 people, with others missing.

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