In India, dozens of workers have been trapped in a tunnel for more than a week. Concern is growing because men’s strength is dwindling. The accident brings back memories of another drama.
The voices of the 41 trapped people are becoming increasingly weaker. Outside the partially collapsed highway tunnel in India, their desperate families are waiting, clinging to any glimmer of hope. Rescuers have been trying for days to free the men from their prison under the mountain.
“Take our house and land if necessary, but please bring our son back to us safely,” the family of 22-year-old worker Pushkar Singh Airi told media group India Today.
The rescuers are at least in contact with the men. They also get oxygen, water and food – but only through a very narrow pipe. Dried fruit and popcorn fit through, Indian media reported. The trapped workers are also being provided with medication. Among other things, they are now suffering from headaches, constipation and claustrophobia, it is said.
Trapped behind dozens of meters of rubble
Construction work on a 4.5-kilometer-long highway tunnel was well underway when it partially collapsed following a landslide on November 12. The scene of the accident is near the small town of Uttarkashi in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand – a region with many Hindu temples that attracts pilgrims. The tunnel was intended to improve connections there.
The workers are stuck behind dozens of meters of rubble. Initially, the authorities promised a quick rescue. But attempts with different machines repeatedly failed. The scree is hard and the terrain is unsafe. On Friday, work with a drilling rig was stopped after a crack could clearly be heard opening up inside the mountain.
The helpers are now trying to drill holes from three sides. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it was essential to maintain the morale of men. But how long they will have to endure in a small space is currently completely unclear. At the weekend, the authorities announced that they would take care of accommodation, food and medical care for the waiting families, as the local news agency ANI reported. Several politicians and officials have already visited the scene of the accident.
Memories of Thailand’s cave drama
The Indian tunnel drama brings back memories of the daring rescue of a youth soccer team from a suddenly flooded cave in Thailand five years ago. Media from all over the world reported for days on the spectacular and highly risky rescue operation in the Tham Luang Cave. Finally, the trapped people were brought out into the open by special divers from, among other places, Great Britain and Australia.
The Indian government has now contacted experts who were involved in this successful rescue mission – in the hope that there will also be a happy ending for the prisoners in the tunnel. Experts from Norway were also contacted. The good news is: there is still hope. Anurag Jain from the Transport Ministry was convinced: “It will take some time, but we will get them out eventually.”
(From Anne Sophie Gallidpa)
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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