Disasters & Accidents

40 workers complete a week trapped in tunnel in northern India

New Delhi, Nov 19 (EFE).- A group of 40 workers on Sunday completed a week trapped in a tunnel in northern India, while the authorities have unsuccessfully continued to make rescue efforts.

The under-construction Silkyara tunnel in the northern state of Uttarakhand collapsed last week, trapping its workers behind several meters of rubble.

Rescue teams managed to contact the workers the same day and send them food.

Indian Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, during a brief news conference from the accident site, said the workers could be reached in the next two days if the excavator did not break down.

The minister also noted that the authorities have been trying to dig a tunnel between the debris horizontally, but now rescue teams will also try to drill a vertical hole over the area where the workers are located.

Rescue efforts have faced continuous setbacks since they began a week ago, and were temporarily halted on Saturday after a snag in the tunnel boring machine.

The authorities initially tried to remove the debris with the help of excavators, but the work turned out to be harder than expected due to fears of further collapses inside the tunnel.

On Tuesday, they decided to use heavy machinery to excavate a hole and install a pipe of about a meter in diameter.

However, technical difficulties and breakdowns have forced rescue teams to replace the tunneling machine on several occasions.

Mishaps such as fires, landslides and other similar incidents are common in India, often due to poor infrastructure conditions and lack of maintenance, factors fueled by corruption and illegal practices.

At least 1,630 people died in 2021 due to the collapse of structures, according to the latest annual report on accidental deaths and suicides in India. EFE


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