India Seeks Assistance from Thai Cave Rescuers in Ongoing Tunnel Collapse Operation

India has reached out to the expert team from Thailand, renowned for their successful rescue mission of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in 2018, to aid in the current efforts to rescue 40 workers trapped inside a collapsed tunnel for over 80 hours.

The state government’s department of public relations announced on Wednesday that Indian authorities have contacted the Thai company involved in the 2018 cave rescue for their expertise in managing complex rescue operations.

The original Thai rescue mission gained international attention when a youth soccer team and their coach became trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province. The team was successfully rescued by a collaborative effort involving Thai Navy SEALs, divers, and international experts.

In a similar fashion, Indian authorities have now sought the assistance of these experienced Thai experts to ensure the safe rescue of the tunnel workers trapped in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.

As of now, the 40 workers are reported to be safe and receiving essential supplies, including oxygen, water, food packets, and medicines through tubes. Walkie-talkies have been employed to re-establish communication with the trapped individuals.

Having spent over 80 hours inside the collapsed tunnel, concerns about the health of the trapped workers have been raised. RCS Panwar, the Uttarkashi district’s chief medical officer, noted that some individuals have complained of minor headaches and nausea. Essential medicines, multivitamins, glucose, and dry fruits are being delivered through a six-inch pipe.

The tunnel collapse occurred following a landslide in the region at approximately 5:30 am on Sunday. The workers, involved in the ambitious Char Dham highway project, were deep inside the 4.5km tunnel during the collapse. The project, a key initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, aims to connect four Hindu pilgrimage sites through an 890km stretch of roads.

The ongoing rescue operation faced challenges earlier this week when parts of an auger broke while attempting to drill through rubble. Heavy machinery also struggled to clear the debris blocking the tunnel.

As of the fifth day of rescue operations, new drilling equipment has been transported to the site from the national capital, Delhi, by an Indian Air Force Hercules aircraft. Federal Minister VK Singh, present at the site, expressed hope and determination, stating, “Rescue operation is underway. We have full hope. We are trying our best.”

The trapped workers hail from various states across India.

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