International tunnelling expert Arnold Dix speaks to the media on the ongoing rescue operation in the Silkyara Tunnel site in Uttarkashi.
International tunnelling expert Arnold Dix expressed unwavering optimism about the progress being made to rescue 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand.
“I just feel good. The drilling on top of the mountain is coming along perfectly, and in the tunnel, it’s coming along very well,” Dix told reporters on Tuesday near the rescue site.
The rescue operation has been underway for several days, with teams of experts and emergency responders working tirelessly to reach the trapped individuals.
An upbeat Arnold Dix, known for his expertise in tunnel engineering and rescue operations, said, “I feel good. I have never said ‘I feel good’ before.”
When asked about the condition of trapped workers, he revealed, “I might have heard they are playing cricket.”
Earlier today, officials said that the rescue teams manually digging the tunnel were within five metres of 41 men, saying a breakthrough was expected “soon.” Rescuers are digging through rock and rubble towards the men using a so-called “rat-hole” mining technique to clear the final stretch.
The escape passage has been prepared up to 52 metres inside the tunnel, and the passage will break through at 57 metres,” Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said Tuesday morning.
“The rescue operation is expected to be completed soon,” he added, without giving a specific timeframe, raising hopes the end was in sight for the marathon operation.
However, the speed of the operation depends on whether or not the rescuers encounter any hurdle in the course of excavation which has often been hampered by something or the other. Dix cautioned that a minor obstacle such as an earthquake could again jeopardise the operation.
“Even 1 metre is a thousand kilometres under an avalanche. Because you never know what’s coming next. If there was an earthquake right now, which there often is, 1m is another thousand kilometres,” he said.
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