Rescuers in northern India are in a race against time to free 40 workers who are trapped underground in a collapsed road tunnel. The incident took place on Sunday when the tunnel, part of the Chardham all-weather road project, collapsed due to a landslide. The workers are trapped about 500 feet from the entrance, and their rescue operation is proving to be a challenging task.
To aid in the rescue efforts, a new drilling machine has been deployed to create an escape tunnel for the trapped workers. However, while the machine has covered an 80-foot stretch, it may require up to 195 feet to successfully free the workers. The drilling is expected to be completed by Friday night, creating a tunnel of welded pipes to facilitate their escape.
Throughout their ordeal, the trapped workers have experienced symptoms such as fever and body aches, but fortunately, their condition has not worsened. To sustain them, a continuous supply of essentials, including nuts, roasted chickpeas, popcorn, and medicine, is being sent to them every two hours through a pipe.
Approximately 200 disaster relief personnel, equipped with drilling equipment and excavators, are tirelessly working round the clock to rescue the trapped individuals. The new drilling machine being used in the operation has a capacity of up to 16 feet per hour and is equipped with a large pipe to clear debris along the way.
Concerned about the complexity of the rescue operation, state officials have sought assistance from experts who were involved in the successful rescue of a trapped youth soccer team in Thailand back in 2018. Additionally, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute has been approached for their expertise.
The collapsed road tunnel incident serves as an unfortunate reminder of the area’s susceptibility to landslides and subsidence. It highlights the need for robust infrastructure and precautions in such regions to ensure the safety of workers and travelers.
As the rescue operation continues, the workers and their families anxiously await their reunion. The efforts of the dedicated rescuers, combined with the support of international experts, offer hope that the trapped workers will soon be reunited with their loved ones, safe and sound.
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