Rescuers announced Tuesday that they were able to transport a camera to the 41 workers stranded for ten days in India in a tunnel under construction which collapsed, men who would be “safe”, but whose rescue in the Indian Himalayas turns out to be complex.
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A video released by local authorities shows these men, whose beards have grown, duly helmeted and apparently in good health, gathering around the camera, in the vast cavity where they managed to find refuge.
“We will get you out safely, don’t worry,” insists an audible voice on the soundtrack of this video.
The camera was routed along an enlarged emergency pipe, with a diameter of 15 centimeters, through which it is now possible to deliver hot meals to them.
The workers have been stuck underground since November 12, when the tunnel they were building partially collapsed, without causing any casualties, near the city of Dehradun in northern India, in the Himalayan state. of Uttarakhand.
Thanks to a first narrow pipe, put in place urgently, the emergency services were able to very quickly provide them with oxygen, water, food and means of radio communication, removing concerns about their immediate survival.
But the construction of an emergency conduit to extract the workers had to be interrupted on Friday, for fear of causing new landslides.
On Saturday, an official indicated that it was now planned to dig an 89 meter shaft to try to get these workers out at the top.
But this alternative also poses the risk of landslides and a third option is being studied, according to Indian media: drilling a conduit from the other end of the tunnel, through the still intact rock, over 450 meters.
“We are doing everything in our power to get them out soon safely,” said Pushkar Singh Dhami, leader of the state of Uttarakhand, assuring in a statement that “all workers are completely safe “.
Mr. Dhami said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he spoke, had ordered that the rescue be a “top priority”.
Among the foreign experts mobilized, Arnold Dix, president of the International Association of Tunnels and Underground Spaces, wants to be reassuring. “These 41 men will return home,” he told the Press Trust of India. “When exactly? I’m not too sure,” he admitted, however.
The construction of this tunnel is part of the infrastructure work launched by the Indian Prime Minister, in particular to improve access to strategic areas located on the border of the great Chinese rival.
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