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Eight potholers trapped in France

Hundreds of rescuers are trying to save those trapped  

STRASBOURG, France -- A diver has failed to find eight potholers trapped in a flooded cave in eastern France since Wednesday.

Several hundred rescuers from France and nearby Switzerland have joined the intensive search for the five men and three women caught in the Bief Parou cave system in the eastern Doubs.

They became trapped when the underground water level suddenly rose and rescuers have deployed six powerful pumps to try and lower them.

The diver discovered pockets of air in the cave, providing hope that the relatively inexperienced divers, all in their 20s, have taken refuge in a vault.

Pumps and divers are being deployed in the search  

Officials said the cave system was made up of several large interconnected vaults and each one would have to be pumped out until they came to the potholers.

The prefect of the Doubs region, Alain Gehain, told French television that local rainfall last month was 80 percent higher then last year's, making potholing dangerous.

"Those who know the region's caves well are not going inside at the moment."

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