Race against time to save 36 trapped workers after tunnel collapses at construction site on Indian highway | The Sun

A HUGE number of workers are trapped inside a tunnel after it collapsed while undergoing construction work.

At least 36 people are feared to be stuck as officials say it could take days to get them out.

The tragic incident happened in the Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district on an Indian highway late Saturday night.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said: "The NDRF and SDRF are at the spot.

"We pray to god for the safe return of everybody."

Some reports are saying there could be up to 41 workers stuck with the number yet to be confirmed.

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Machines are now being used to drill through the tunnel to clear the debris, as a single oxygen pipe was able to squeeze through and sent inside to provide some relief to the men trapped.

The distance they need to free up is thought to be around 150m, as officials say it could take up to three days to get to the workers and guide them out safely.

Pictures from inside the tunnel – that has been undergoing construction for over fours years now -show the men standing around in protective clothing and high visibility jackets as they wait for help.

They are thought to have almost no supplies with them.

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Uttarkashi SP Arpan Yaduvanshi said the tunnel had fallen between 150m to 200m ahead of its opening.

Yaduvanshi went on to say: "According to the officials of HIDCL, which is looking after the construction work of the tunnel, about 36 people are trapped in the tunnel and efforts are being made to rescue them safely.

"Police force, NDRF and SDRF team are present at the spot. Till now no casualty has been reported.

"We will soon rescue all the people safely."

The 4.5km long tunnel is being constructed by Navayuga Engineering Company Limited who are also now responsible for clearing away any debris.

It is being made to shorten the journey from Uttarkashi to Yamunotri Dham and connect the Silkyara and Dandalgaon regions.

The project was initially supposed to be finished by March 2020, but the deadline was extended to December 2024 due to slow progress.

The horrifying collapse was reportedly caused by a landslide in the area that hit at around 4am.

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