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India Says Pipe Laying Work Completed to Rescue 41 Workers Trapped Inside Collapsed Tunnel

Workers in northern India trapped since Nov. 12, when under-construction tunnel collapsed, are reportedly close to being evacuated.

Teams in Himalayan India have completed laying rescue pipes in a collapsed tunnel where 41 workers have been trapped for over two weeks, officials said on Tuesday.

“The work of laying pipes in the tunnel to take out the workers has been completed. Soon all the labor brothers will be taken out.” Pushkar Singh Dhami, the top elected official in the state of Uttarakhand, confirmed on X.

Earlier in the morning, officials that they were expecting a “breakthrough” in efforts to rescue the workers, who have been trapped in the caved-in tunnel since Nov. 12.

“Almost 52 meters (171 feet) has been done (pipe inserted). It is expected that there will be a breakthrough around 57 meters (187 feet),” Dhami, told reporters at the incident site on Tuesday.

A massive rescue operation was launched in the state’s Uttarkashi district on Nov. 12 when the under-construction Silkyara Tunnel collapsed, cutting the 41 workers off from the rest of the tunnel, kept alive only through supplies sent through a pipe.

The rescue has been marred by multiple glitches, delaying the workers’ rescue. Earlier an estimated 60 meters (197 feet) needed to be cleared to push through a pipe, to reach the trapped workers, according to rescue officials

The authorities brought in men called “rat miners” who began drilling through the rocks and gravel by hand on Monday evening.

Rat miners drill manually mostly in narrow passages and work mostly in mines

The Indian government has said timelines of the rescue provided “are subject to change due to technical glitches, the challenging Himalayan terrain, and unforeseen emergencies.”

Source : Anadolu Agency