New Delhi, Nov 21 (EFE).- Rescue teams shared this Tuesday the first images of the 41 workers trapped for ten days in a tunnel under construction in northern India, while authorities are working simultaneously on several roads. alternative exhaust.
“Are you all okay? Come before the camera one by one,” the rescue teams asked the workers, many of them equipped with helmets and disheveled after a dozen days inside the tunnel.
The video shows a group of workers, first removing the camera from the pipe and then grouping around it, inside a tunnel illuminated by several powerful spotlights.
The images were taken after successfully installing a pipe through the meter-long wall of rubble last Monday, designed to be able to send hot food and other belongings to the workers, Jay Panwar, from the disaster management agency, explained to EFE. Uttarakashi district, in the northern state of Uttarakhand.
The collapse took place in the early hours of November 12 in the Silkyara tunnel under construction. After some confusion over the number of trapped workers, authorities revised their number to 41.
The rescue teams managed to contact them on the same day of the accident, using a walkie-talkie and thanks to a narrow pipe that was already present in the tunnel before the collapse. Until now, the workers had received simple food, such as bags of nuts, as well as water and oxygen.
“Put the camera back in the pipe, we are going to remove it and clean the pipe with a water compressor, so stand aside,” said the rescue teams, before sending the first hot meal in days to the workers.
The rescue work began on Sunday, and initially the teams tried to remove dozens of meters of debris from inside the tunnel with the help of excavators.
The fear of new collapses put an end to that plan, and the authorities began to dig a hole under the rubble to install a pipe almost a meter in diameter, which would help workers get to the surface.
A succession of breakdowns in the tunnel boring machinery has delayed the work, while the authorities resort to various alternative plans such as the excavation of a vertical tunnel.
The slow pace of rescue efforts has sparked some protests among co-workers of those trapped, while authorities try to keep morale high.
“We keep in constant contact, suggesting activities such as yoga, taking walks and encouraging conversations among them to keep morale high,” psychiatrist Abhishek Sharma, appointed by the Government to ensure the mental health of those trapped, told the Indian Express newspaper. .