After nine days underground, the first images emerged of the 41 Indian workers stuck in the tunnel

After nine days underground, the first images emerged of the 41 Indian workers stuck in the tunnel

Rescue workers announced on Tuesday that they were able to transfer a camera to 41 workers who were stranded for nine days in India in a tunnel under construction that collapsed near the northern Indian city of Dehradun in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. The men are all said to be “safe”, but the process of rescuing them is complicated.

A video posted by local authorities shows these men, all grown beards, duly wearing helmets and apparently in good health, huddled around the camera, in the wide hollow where they have managed to find shelter. An audible voice in the audio clip of this video confirms: “We will get you out safely, don’t worry.”

An entrance was dug to provide them with food and oxygen

The camera was directed along an enlarged emergency tube, 15cm in diameter, through which hot meals can now be delivered to them. The workers have been stuck underground since November 12, when the tunnel they were building partially collapsed, without any casualties.

Thanks to the first narrow tube that was quickly installed, emergency services were able to very quickly provide them with oxygen, water, food and radio communication, immediately removing concerns about their survival.

video. India: 40 people stranded after tunnel collapse

But construction of an emergency canal to retrieve workers was halted on Friday for fear of causing new landslides. An official said on Saturday that it is now planned to dig an 89-meter shaft to try to get these workers to the summit.

READ  Gaza's health system has reached a "tipping point," the International Committee of the Red Cross has warned

A large-scale operation reminiscent of the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were stranded for 69 days at a depth of 688 meters after the collapse. They were all rescued alive after several weeks of work.

Narendra Modi’s ‘absolute priority’

But this alternative also poses a risk of landslides, and a third option is being studied, according to Indian media, which is to dig a channel from the other end of the tunnel, through the rocks that are still intact, at an altitude of more than 450 metres.

“We are doing everything we can to get them out safely soon,” Uttarakhand state leader Pushkar Singh Dhami said, stressing in a statement that “all the workers are completely safe.” He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom he spoke to, had ordered the rescue operation to be a “top priority”.

Among the foreign experts mobilized, Arnold Dix, president of the International Association of Tunnels and Underground Spaces, wants to be reassured. “These 41 men will return home,” he told the Press Trust of India. When exactly? “I’m not too sure,” he admitted, though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *