On Thursday, four days after 40 workers became stuck in a Himalayan road tunnel, distraught family members and coworkers demonstrated outside to call for quicker action. Authorities were still working to find a way through the debris and rescue the workers.
Due to landslides in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, which caused a partial collapse, the workmen became stranded on Sunday approximately 500 feet from the tunnel’s entrance. Communication was severed, leaving the men to wait inside, unsure of what would happen.
Officials communicated with the workers in the hours that followed by putting radios into the tunnel through an undamaged pipe. Later, food, water, and oxygen were sent in through a larger, 35-inch-diameter pipe that was inserted through the debris with the aid of compressors. The men are safe inside the tunnel, according to the officials.
Dozens of rescuers were assigned by officials to work nonstop, utilizing excavators and drilling equipment to remove debris. However, they gave up on those attempts after a powerful drilling apparatus was unable to make an escape route, and the drill caused more rubble to fall into the tunnel, according to Arpan Yaduvanshi, a police official in Uttarkashi District, where the rescue operations were conducted.
On Thursday, the officials said that they were taking a different approach and attempting to send out a cutting-edge device that could slice through the rubble. Uttarkashi’s top disaster management officer, Ranjit Sinha, stated, “We are putting steel pipes into the rubble to create a passage for the workers to come out.” The soldiers were supposed to crawl inside the conduit to avoid the debris falling on them.
A Thai company that assisted in the 2018 rescue of children from a flooded cave in Thailand has been consulted by India over the operation. The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute’s engineering specialists were also contacted by officials.
Every year, Uttarakhand attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims and develops into a popular travel destination. The state, which is hilly, has seen a surge in the building and road construction industry in recent years.
The workers who were stranded were constructing a section of an all-weather road that would enable them to reach four Hindu sites more quickly. Because to the rapid melting of glaciers, the landscape in which the building was taking place has grown more unstable for major development projects.