Monday, November 13, 2023, 2:59 p.m
LUCKNOW, India – Rescuers dug through earth and parts of a collapsed road tunnel on Monday to reach 40 workers trapped in a landslide at the construction project in northern India.
All the construction workers were safe, police officer Prashant Kumar said, adding that they had been provided with oxygen and water. He said rescuers had made contact with those trapped.
The collapse occurred on Sunday in Uttarakhand, a mountainous state full of Hindu temples that attracts many pilgrims and tourists.
In recent years, there has been massive construction work on buildings and roads in Uttarakhand. The trapped workers were building part of the Chardham All-Weather Road, a federal government flagship project connecting various Hindu pilgrimage sites.
The number of workers trapped was confirmed on Monday by Rajesh Pawar, project manager of Navyug Construction Company, which is overseeing the construction of the tunnel.
Rescue efforts began Sunday with authorities pumping oxygen through a pipe into the collapsed section of the tunnel to help workers breathe.
“The team has advanced 15 meters (yards) into the tunnel with another 35 meters (yards) to go,” Kumar said, adding that more than 150 rescuers used drills and excavators throughout the night to clear debris remove.
The collapsed portion of the 4.5-kilometer (2.7-mile) tunnel is about 200 meters (500 feet) from the entrance, officials told the Press Trust of India news agency.
In January, authorities in Uttarakhand state moved hundreds of people to shelters after a temple collapsed and cracks appeared in over 600 homes due to land submergence in and around the region’s town of Joshimath.
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