Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescuers release first video of trapped workers; new 6-inch pipe set to get them more food

The tireless work that has been going on to rescue 41 workers trapped inside a collapsed tunnel in Uttarkashi, in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, has yielded results — rescuers today released the first video of the workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel for 10 days.

The first visual of trapped workers has been made possible by an endoscopic camera sent in through a new 6-inch pipeline. Screenshot courtesy: X/@SouleFacts

The visuals were captured using an endoscopic camera sent in through the alternative 6-inch pipeline, which was pushed in through the rubble of the collapsed tunnel yesterday. The camera was sent in after it came from Delhi late last evening.

In the video, the workers, wearing yellow and white helmets, are seen receiving food items sent to them through the pipeline and talking to each other. This comes as a big relief to the families of these workers.

National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) Director Anshu Manish Khalkho had earlier said that cameras would be inserted through the pipeline to see how the workers were doing.

Rescue operations are being carried out on a war footing since portions of the tunnel collapsed following a landslide early on November 12, leaving 41 workers trapped behind a huge mound of debris.

Until now, a 4-inch existing tube was being used to supply oxygen and items like dry fruits and medicines into the section of the tunnel beyond the rubble of the collapsed portion. The new 6-inch pipeline will allow rescuers to send in larger quantities of food.

According to officials, food items like porridge, khichdi, sliced apples, and bananas can be sent in through the new pipeline. Also, mobile phones and chargers could be sent to the workers.

The Silkyara tunnel, about 30km from the district headquarters of Uttarkashi and a 7-hour drive from the Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, is part of the ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project of the central government.