The operation to rescue 41 Indian workers, who have been buried in a tunnel under the Himalayas for over two weeks, will take much longer than originally expected. The rescuers’ drilling machine broke down and they had to switch to manual demolition of the sunken rock, Reuters reported, citing Indian government authorities.
The drilling rig, which was supposed to break through almost 60 meters of rubble, was damaged after hitting an obstacle on Friday. Rescuers will have to remove the last 10 to 15 meters using hand-held power tools.
A tunnel under construction in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand collapsed on November 12. However, the construction workers have access to light and oxygen, and food, water and medicine have been delivered to them.
The drilling machine broke while being pulled out of the 47-meter pipe, which is supposed to be used to get the trapped workers out. The head of the Uttarakhand regional government, Pushkar Singh Dhami, said on Saturday that the machine would be removed by Sunday morning, allowing manual drilling to begin.
Disaster Management Authority of India member Syed Ata Hasnain, who is overseeing the rescue work, said the rescue operation will be complicated and prolonged due to the fault.
“We must strengthen our brothers stuck inside. We have to monitor their mental state, this operation can go on for a very long time,” he said, without elaborating on the expected duration of the rescue operation.
Video with overwhelmed workers
They supply buried laborers in northern India through a pipe which they bore to them. The camera also reached the men through her.
Authorities have not said what caused the tunnel collapse. According to Reuters, however, landslides, earthquakes and floods occur in this region. An unnamed member of the team investigating the incident said on Friday on condition of anonymity that the tunnel had no emergency exit and was being built under unfavorable geological conditions.
Earlier this week, a narrower pipe reached the buried men through which they can receive food and other supplies. Doctors, including psychiatrists, also arrived at the scene of the accident. They advised the workers to do light yoga exercises, to walk around the space in which they are confined and confined, and to talk to each other constantly.
The sunken tunnel is located on the Char Dham pilgrimage route, one of the most ambitious projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. It aims to connect four key Hindu pilgrimage sites through a 890 kilometer dual carriageway.