Himachal tunnel collapse: Trapped workers contacted

Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh), Sep 17 (IANS) Rescuers have managed to establish contact with two workers who have been trapped since Saturday evening in an under-construction tunnel here in Himachal Pradesh, officials said on Thursday.

Mani Ram and Satish Tomar were given eatables through a pipe, the officials said. However, the whereabouts of the third worker are not yet known.

Three labourers got trapped when the under-construction tunnel of Kiratpur-Manali four-lane road project collapsed and blocked the passage.

Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Manasi Sahay Thakur said vertical drilling would be carried out to reach to the trapped workers.

“A special machine has arrived and it would be deployed by this night at the hilltop to drill a vertical hole into the tunnel to reach out to the two workers with whom contact has been established,” she said.

“As much as 30 metres of horizontal insertion has been done and 10 to 15 metres drilling needs to be done more,” she added.

Superintendent of Police Balbir Thakur told IANS that eatables, dry fruits and glucose, were supplied to the two workers through a pipe.

He said contact was established with the two workers through a microphone inserted through the pipe after vertical drilling into the tunnel. “Their visuals were caught on a camera and they were responding,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh visited the under-construction road tunnel near here and reviewed the ongoing massive rescue operation, involving the Border Roads Organisation and the army.

A government official told IANS that whereabouts of the third worker, Hirdya Ram, are still unknown.

One of the workers, Satish Tomar has faced such a situation earlier too when he remained trapped inside a tunnel for more than 95 hours, his brother-in-law Chiranjee Lal said.

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