LUCKNOW: At least 40 workers trapped inside a collapsed Indian highway tunnel will spend a second night there on Monday, pending arrival of rescue material, after being confined for over 38 hours in a cavernous space, officials said.
Rescuers were awaiting delivery of a wide steel pipe after midnight that would then be pushed into an opening of excavated debris to safely pull out the workers in about 24 hours, said Devendra Singh Patwal, a disaster management official.
“There is enough water while oxygen and food for instant energy like dry fruits are being supplied to them,” Patwal added. Local media cited another official as saying there was enough light in the space they are trapped.
The tunnel, which is 13 metres wide and 15 metres in height with the workers trapped in a two-kilometre space, was being built on a national highway that is part of a Hindu pilgrimage route, Patwal and state authorities said.
The workers are largely migrants from other Indian states and include two locals, authorities said.
“The relief forces are removing the debris and soon we will have all the labourers out,” police chief Ashok Kumar said.
Rescuers were communicating with workers through walkie-talkies, Kumar said, adding that the exact cause of the accident was not known.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2023