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The first pictures of tunnel workers buried in India

For nine days, 41 men waited underground at a tunnel construction site in the Indian Himalayas. The first photos of the workers have now been published. They show how they stand in the confined space and communicate with rescue workers.

A 30-second video provided by authorities shows about a dozen of the trapped men standing in a semicircle in front of the camera. They stand in the light of tunnel lights, wearing construction workers’ jackets and helmets.

According to authorities, the video was recorded with an endoscope camera. This was pushed through a 15cm diameter pipeline dug through the rubble yesterday. This is the second narrow tube that rescuers use to keep in contact with those trapped.

Supply via pipelines

On November 12, a portion of the 4.5-kilometre-long tunnel collapsed in Uttarakhand state. The men have been stuck underground ever since. According to authorities, they are currently out of danger. The tubes provide them with oxygen, water, food and medicine.

The cause of the collapse has not yet been announced. However, landslides, earthquakes and floods occur repeatedly in the region. The difficult terrain also makes rescue work more difficult.

Difficult rescue work

The workers are stuck behind dozens of meters of rubble. Initially, the authorities promised quick rescue. Attempts to use drilling equipment to penetrate the rubble have so far failed. Work on the drilling rig stopped on Friday after sounds indicated that rocks were moving.

Today, rescue workers want to continue digging horizontally through a 60-metre-high pile of rubble. The goal is to create a corridor large enough for the trapped men to crawl out.

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