Uttarakhand Tunnel Rescue: Rescuers released a video and the images of the trapped workers
Rescue teams in Uttarakhand are racing against time to evacuate 41 construction workers who have been trapped for 10 days following a tunnel collapse.
In a significant breakthrough, the rescuers were able to send a camera to the trapped workers early this morning and capture their visuals for the first time, providing some relief to their families.
The images were captured by an endoscopic flexi camera pushed through a six-inch pipe inserted through the rubble last night to send food for them.
Rescue officials were seen speaking to the workers through Walkie Talkies or radio handsets. The camera and walkie-talkie connection with the workers is a significant development in the long-drawn rescue operation.
It has been an agonising wait for the families keeping vigil outside the tunnel.
The brother of one of the workers said he was able to speak to him briefly. "He told me that they are safe. He also asked me about our parents," Vikram Singh told NDTV.
Mr Singh said officials had assured the families that the workers would be rescued soon.
Vikram's brother Pushkar Singh is one of the 41 men trapped inside the tunnel since November 12, when a portion of the tunnel caved in.
He said Pushkar had been working at the site for about two and a half months. "We found out that he was stuck in the tunnel four days after the incident, when his friend called us," Mr Singh said.
The workers' prolonged confinement in the tunnel has raised serious concerns about their health and well-being.
Doctors have also emphasised the need for comprehensive rehabilitation for the trapped workers, fearing that the prolonged confinement may necessitate both mental and physical recovery processes.
Rescuers said significant progress had been achieved as a vertical drilling machine had reached the tunnel from the top. It took 13 hours and three vehicles to bring the machine to the spot, a driver told news agency ANI.