Rescuers managed to pass food and water through a narrow, twisting pipe yesterday to a group of miners trapped more than a mile underground.
Nine of the 15 miners trapped inside the African Rainbow Minerals gold mine in Orkney, South Africa 110 miles southwest of Johannesburg, were believed to be alive on Wednesday morning, a National Union of Mineworkers representative said.
Rescue teams said at least four miners had died.
Rescue teams made voice contact late Tuesday with the miners who were trapped 1 1/4 miles underground by a cave-in on Monday.
Rescuers removed at least 160 tons of broken rock to get near the miners.
An earth tremor triggered the cave-in, company officials said.
Of the trapped miners, eight were from Lesotho, two from Mozambique, one from Swaziland and four from South Africa.