India: Officials mull new plans in Himalayan tunnel rescue

rescuers were on Sunday considering new ways to save 41 in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

They became stranded when a highway tunnel they were building partially collapsed last Sunday, trapping them inside. 

Since then, rescuers have been trying to drill a hole to reach the workers, but that work stopped when the drilling machine broke on Friday.

A new drill has been flown in, but operations were on hold because of a risk of collapse.

The rescue team was considering alternative plans, including digging a new shaft from above with two possible routes.

Rescue operation could drag on for days 

Bhaskar Khulbe, a senior government official involved in the rescue operations, said that teams are exploring all options to save the workers.

“We have no shortage of resources, options, and methods,” Khulbe said late Saturday.

He added that rescuers were looking at “a maximum of four to five days” to free the men.

Conditions for the trapped workers are grim

Relatives of those trapped, who have spoken to the men via radio, said

“They are in tears… they have started asking us whether we are lying about the rescue efforts being made to save them,” one relative told reporters.

Rescuers have provided the trapped workers with food, water, oxygen, and medicine through a pipe. 

dvv/lo (AFP, Reuters)

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