Spanish potholers trapped in southwest France are alive: police

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Toulouse (France) (AFP)

Seven Spanish potholers trapped in a cave in southwestern France have been found unhurt and rescuers are preparing to bring them to the surface, police said Wednesday.

"Contact has been made. They are still 300 metres underground but they are alive," a police source said.

"They are all safe and sound, but tired," Frederic Rose, of the regional authorities of Haute-Garonne, told AFP.

"We have put them in a safe area and we will then bring them up."

Eight of an original group of 15 potholers had managed to escape and raise the alarm in the early hours of Wednesday.

The group had been caught out by the rapid rise of water in the cave after large amounts of ice and snow melted, officials said.

The chasm lies in Herran in the heart of the Pyrenees region, close to the Spanish border.

All of the potholers are aged between 30 and 50.