Forty workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in northern India face a second night awaiting rescue as crews work to clear debris. The incident occurred on Sunday, Nov. 12, in Uttarakhand, a mountainous state renowned for Hindu temples that draw pilgrims and tourists.
Authorities successfully established contact with the trapped workers on Sunday night using walkie-talkies.
All construction workers are safe, according to police officer Prashant Kumar, who added that they have been provided with oxygen and water. A pipeline initially laid for construction water supply is now repurposed to deliver oxygen, food and water to the workers.
Reports suggest a section of the tunnel collapsed after a landslide sent heavy debris piling onto the structure. However, there is no official word on the cause of the collapse.
The Silkyara tunnel is integral to the government’s project linking prominent pilgrimage spots in the state. Massive construction of buildings and roadways has taken place in recent years.
The Char Dham pilgrimage route is one of the most ambitious projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, aiming to connect four important Hindu pilgrimage sites in North India through a 551-mile, two-lane road being built at a cost of $1.5 billion.