Around 450 rail construction workers have been trapped in a flooded tunnel in northeastern China, according to media reports.
A report on Australian Associated Press says the workers became trapped when water up to two metres deep flooded into the tunnel from the nearby Sandaohe and Xihe rivers after torrential rain brought by Typhoon Damrey.
The tunnel is being built for a railway line in Chaotao town near Benxi city, according to China National Radio.
About 20 of the trapped workers, who were from a construction firm and a water plant, were rescued early on Monday as firefighters set up a ropeway to pull people out of the tunnel.
The latest developments come amid state media reports that since last Friday, Damrey has killed at least six people in Shandong province, destroyed more than 14,000 homes, and affected around two million people by knocking down electrical lines and paralysing road and rail traffic.
Hundreds of people have been killed in China over the past moth as torrential rain has caused floods and landslides.
Though the latest incident is the result of extreme weather, it does highlight an apparently alarming rate of accidents on large-scale infrastructure projects in China, including those involving tunnels.
In 2009, for example, 21 construction workers were killed and a further 24 injured in the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou after the collapse of a subway tunnel.
In that instance, 10 people were prosecuted after judicial investigations uncovered violations of construction rules, problems in the supporting systems and moulding procedures, and inadequate project monitoring.
Earlier this year, the collapse of the roadbed of a 300-metre section of rail on the 291-kilometre Hanyi High-speed Railway in Central China’s Hubei province was blamed on poor construction as well as heavy rain.