| 19 June 2024, Wednesday |

Rescuers in India tunnel collapse work on alternative plan on seventh day

After the operation encountered a hitch the day before, rescuers trying to reach workers trapped for nearly a week in a collapsed highway tunnel in the Indian Himalayas started working on an alternative strategy on Saturday.

Authorities said that the guys, who were stranded in the caved-in hillside tunnel since Sunday am, are safe. The workers who are imprisoned have access to light, food, water, air, and medications through a pipe, and radios allow them to communicate.

The new plan involves drilling vertically from the top of the mountain under which 41 workers were trapped while working on a highway tunnel, said D P Baloni, divisional forest officer for Uttarkashi, in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India.

The rescue team has been drilling horizontally through the debris of the collapsed tunnel to reach the trapped workers. But the augur machine being used to drill broke on Friday and a new one was flown in on Saturday.

The new plan is to simultaneously drill from the side and above, said Bhaskar Khulbe, officer on special duty for the tunnel project.

A geological survey was conducted by a team of experts that has helped identify four points on the mountain through which vertical drilling is possible, Khulbe said.

Drilling remains suspended for now and it will take another four or five days “to get the good news”, Khulbe told reporters.

  • Reuters