/ 29 November 2023

Not for the claustrophobic


There were tears and cheers in India overnight when all 41 Indian workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in the northern state of Uttarakhand were freed after 17 days. A landslide caused a blockage at the entrance of the tunnel on 12 November – none of the road construction workers were injured, and they spent the next 2 weeks surviving on oxygen piped through the rubble, and then rescuers worked out how to get dry food to them through a 15cm pipe. And after days of digging through the 60m of rubble with a drilling machine, it broke down, forcing them to finish it by hand. The final rescue also involved a pipe – overnight, the trapped men were pulled through a 90cm steel pipe, arriving to shouts of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” – “Long live mother India” – from the crowd of locals and family. Indian PM Narendra Modi has praised the trapped men’s “inspiring” courage and patience. 

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