In northern India’s Uttarakhand state, more than a hundred rescuers faced the challenging task of saving workers trapped underground for a third day as they worked on a collapsed road tunnel. The collapse occurred during the construction of the 4.5-kilometer tunnel connecting Uttarkashi and Yamunotri, two significant Hindu shrines.
The trapped workers, numbering 40, have been provided with oxygen, and efforts are underway to create an escape tunnel using excavators to remove debris.
Uttarkashi district’s top civil servant, Abhishek Ruhela, shared that contact has been established with the workers, and essential supplies, including oxygen and food, are being provided. The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) reported that rescuers communicated with the trapped workers via radio. The optimism exists that the workers may be freed by Wednesday, with sufficient oxygen available for the next five to six days.
Hemant Nayak, a construction worker who narrowly escaped the collapse, recounted that the roof caved in on Sunday, trapping workers inside. Despite minor debris falling earlier, Nayak emphasized that it was not taken seriously until a substantial amount of debris closed off the tunnel.
Government rescue teams, using heavy machinery, are driving a 90-centimeter-wide steel pipe through the rubble to create a passage for the trapped workers.
The tunnel collapse is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s road project, designed to enhance travel conditions between prominent Hindu shrines and areas bordering China.