The recent tunnel collapse in Uttarakhand, India has left 41 workers trapped underground for nine days. The workers were captured on video for the first time using an endoscopic camera that was inserted into a new pipe drilled into the tunnel. This breakthrough allowed rescuers to give the workers their first hot meal in days, as they had previously been subsisting on snacks sent through a narrower pipe.
The collapse occurred on November 12th after a landslide in the northern state’s Uttarkashi district. Since then, the trapped men have been provided with oxygen, food, and water. The rescue operation encountered a significant breakthrough on Monday when a six-inch diameter pipe was pushed through the debris inside the tunnel, allowing officials to film the trapped men.
In the video released to the press, rescuers can be seen communicating with the workers through two-way radios. The men, many of whom are wearing safety helmets and jackets, can be seen standing in a semi-circle near the camera. The official behind the camera reassures the workers that they will be rescued soon and asks them to identify themselves in front of the camera.
The operation, which entered its 10th day on Tuesday, has faced several delays and obstacles due to loose soil and falling debris. However, officials are working to create escape routes by digging two more tunnels by the side of the main tunnel. They have also pushed four 900mm pipes through the debris wall to create the main passage, with welding work on the fifth pipe already underway.
Federal Highways and Roads Minister Nitin Gadkari visited the site and stated that the rescue operations could go on for “two to three days”. Col Deepak Patil, who is leading the rescue operation, expressed confidence that the men would be freed, stating, “We are trying all our options and we will succeed.”
The workers’ colleagues are eagerly awaiting their rescue, with one stating, “I have seen them on camera, but now I’m waiting to see them in the flesh.” The workers have been in good spirits, smiling and waving at the camera as they await their rescue.
The EcoReporter segment aims to provide a comprehensive and enlightening perspective on the situation, focusing on the environmental impact of the rescue operation and the measures being taken to ensure the safety and well-being of the trapped workers.