Speleologists trapped in deluged mountain cave

Grzegorz Momot/PAP

Rescue teams are striving to establish contact with two speleologists trapped in a flooded corridor of an underground cave in Poland's southern Tatra Mountains.

On Saturday the two men were cut off from their companions by fast-rising groundwater in a corridor of the 24-kilometre-long Jaskinia Wielka Snieżna (Great Snowy Cave), the longest and deepest cave in the Tatra range. According to rescuers the corridor, located about 500 metres beneath the cave's entrance, could have been flooded in effect of recent rainfall in the area.

As yet rescuers have been unable to establish contact with the trapped men, who cannot leave the corridor themselves owing to high water levels.

Rescuers have said that the extreme conditions in the cave constituted a severe threat to the trapped men's health.

As of Sunday a team of 27 rescuers and firemen are working to get the trapped men to the surface.