CHILLING video footage of the 41 workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel has emerged as they receive their first hot meal in nine days.
Rice and lentils were able to reach them through a newly installed steel pipe, that was pushed through the rubble.
The first video of workers trapped inside a collapsed tunnel has emerged[/caption]
Previously the workers had survived off of dry food sent through a narrower pipe.
Oxygen is also being supplied to them through a separate tube.
Today officials released a video that shows the workers peering into the lens of an endoscopic camera and moving around the blocked tunnel wearing their construction hats.
They can also be seen communicating with rescuers through walkie-talkies.
The men’s families have been growing more worried and frustrated as the rescue operation enters a more critical stage.
The dad of one of the workers, Munnilal Kishku has barely slept since the collapse.
“We never could have imagined a situation like this,” Kishku told AFP from his village in the eastern state of Bihar, one of India‘s poorest.
He said his family were suffering “sleepless nights” as they waited.
All they can do is pray, and hope that the government’s promises that all is being done to rescue the workers will result in success soon.
Excavators have been removing tonnes of earth, concrete and rubble from the under-construction tunnel in the northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand since November 12, when a portion of it collapsed.
But rescue efforts have been slow, complicated by falling debris as well as repeated breakdowns of crucial heavy drilling machines.
It is now thought rescuers are working on an alternate plan of rescue that involves digging toward the men vertically.
Since the collapse, Kishku has had no word from his son Virendra, who is in his mid-twenties and, like most of the other trapped men, a migrant worker who left home to find employment elsewhere in the country.
“It is a tough time for us,” he added. “We are regularly praying for divine blessings.”
“We are hopeful that he will return safely.”
Some of the family members of those trapped are camping near the tunnel, waiting in desperation for any news, with state authorities offering them accommodation and transport.
Abhishek Sharma, a psychiatrist appointed by the government to oversee the mental health of the trapped workers, said he had been giving the men advice.
“We’ve kept constant contact, suggesting activities like yoga, walking, and encouraging conversations among them to maintain high morale,” Sharma told the Indian Express newspaper.
Seeing their loved ones — exhausted, anxious, but alive — was a huge boost for those frantic for their rescue.
Rescuers have been sending dry food and oxygen to the trapped workers through pipes[/caption]
Concerned locals watch the rescue efforts in progress[/caption]
The video comes comes after the collapse of the tunnel in Uttarakhand, India[/caption]