In Uttarakhand, India, 41 workers have been trapped inside a collapsed tunnel for 10 days. The men were seen alive for the first time as rescuers work to create new passageways to free them.
The workers have been confined to a 4.5km (3-mile) tunnel in the Indian Himalayas since November 12, when it collapsed. Despite their predicament, authorities have assured that the men are safe and have access to light, oxygen, food, water, and medicines.
On Tuesday, a 30-second video was released, showing about a dozen of the trapped men standing in a semi-circle inside the tunnel. They appeared exhausted and anxious, with some of them sporting thick beards. The video was captured through a medical endoscopy camera that was pushed through a second, wider pipeline drilled through the debris.
Rescuers are facing challenges in drilling through the debris due to the mountainous terrain, which has slowed down efforts to bring out the workers. However, authorities are working on multiple plans to rescue the men, including the possibility of drilling vertically from the top of the mountain.
As the workers await rescue, they have been advised to walk within the confined area, engage in light yoga exercises, and talk regularly among themselves to keep occupied. Additionally, they have been cautioned to avoid heavy workouts that could increase the accumulation of carbon dioxide gas in the confined space.
The trapped men, who are mostly low-wage workers from poor states in India’s north and east, are eagerly awaiting their rescue. Foreign experts, including Australian independent disaster investigator Arnold Dix, have been involved in the rescue efforts to ensure the safe extraction of the men.
Efforts to free the workers remain ongoing, with authorities determined to bring the 41 men home safely.