| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Indian tunnel rescue set to take much longer after drill damaged

Officials stated on Saturday that the rescue operation of 41 workers who had been stuck in a highway tunnel in the Indian Himalayas for two weeks will take far longer than anticipated because they are now using manual drilling due to damage to machinery.

Government authorities stated that the heavy drill that was brought in to break through over 60 meters of rubble was destroyed on Friday and was being removed completely. They added that hand-held power tools will need to be used to dismantle the final 10-15 meters of material.

The men, construction workers from some of India’s poorest states, have been stuck in the 4.5-km (3-mile) tunnel being built in Uttarakhand state since it caved in early on Nov. 12. Authorities have said they are safe, with access to light, oxygen, food, water and medicines.

A heavy drill machine, called an auger, which got damaged after hitting an obstacle on Friday, broke while being pulled out of the 47-meter pipe inserted to bring out the trapped workers.

  • Reuters