Indian Tunnel Collapse: Frantic Effort To Free 41 Labourers Enters Its Tenth Day
A frustrating operation in northern India to rescue 41 labourers trapped inside a mountain tunnel they were trying to build, as part of an ambitious Himalayan highway project in town of Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, has entered its tenth day.
The first images of the dozens of men have emerged. Video captured by a camera fed through a pipe by rescuers on the surface shows the labourers wearing helmets and standing in a large cavern roughly 60 m inside the mountain. “We’ll reach quickly,” a rescuer said.
Uttarakhand Tunnel: Operation Facing Complications
The trapped men have been receiving food, water and oxygen through the pipe after the entrance to the tunnel gave way on November 12. A makeshift hospital has been set up at the entrance, but a rescue doesn’t appear imminent at the moment.
Authorities have been brainstorming ways to free the men, including inserting another pipe that’s big enough for them to crawl out. But any effort to open a passage through the rubble has proven tricky owing to the unstable topography.
Rescuers first attempted to dig through the debris, but progress was slow as more rubble fell into the shaft. They then brought in a drill to try to create a hole wide enough to insert a pipe. But a landslide complicated those efforts.
Rescuers Exploring All Options To Reach The Labourers
As anger grew among relatives outside the tunnel’s entrance, authorities flew in a high-powered drill from the capital New Delhi. As that machine went to work, Reuters reported a “large-scale cracking sound” was heard last Friday, prompting authorities to pause work again.
Rescuers are exploring all options to reach the men. They are now considering drilling from all three directions, including vertically, while pipes have been successfully inserted into approximately 25 m of the rubble. Keep an eye out for further updates.