Rescuers in India tunnel collapse change approach as frantic efforts pass one-week mark
Rescuers in India are changing their approach in the frantic effort to reach workers feared trapped in a collapsed tunnel a week after the incident occurred, with dwindling hope that any survivors will be found.
Workers at the Tapovan-Reni Hydroelectric Project in Uttarakhand state, India, went missing after a portion of a Himalayan mountain collapsed into a flooded glacial lake on 6 February.
Rescue teams had initially planned to use explosives to try and access the debris in the lake, where around 35 men are thought to be trapped, but those efforts have now been abandoned.
Despite the efforts of more than 600 personnel, including military personnel and rescue specialists, search and excavation efforts are proving difficult due to the debris and soft mud, leading rescuers to switch approaches and use heavy drillers and other cutting machines.
Efforts have intensified to locate any survivors in the tunnel, which has been completely blocked by a huge wall of debris.
The rescue team has also launched a high-tech exercise, bringing in special underwater robots, thermal imaging, and ground-penetrating radar to try and find anyone still alive.
Local authorities will also soon begin using a special robotic apparatus to enter the tunnel with a camera and search for survivors over the course of a week, while also scanning debris for any signs of life.
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the site to meet the families of the trapped workers and “review the situation”, along with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, according to a government statement.
The hope of finding anyone alive has now lessened as the number of days since the incident happened has increased. But the rescue teams are still working diligently to locate and rescue the missing workers.