Rescuers on Monday managed to evacuate two trapped workers after over 200 hours of their ordeal, after a tunnel under construction collapsed here in Himachal Pradesh on September 12. However, the whereabouts of the third worker were not known yet."We managed to evacuate Mani Ram and Satish Tomar, who were stuck in the tunnel since September 21. Both are fine and have been taken to the nearby zonal hospital in Bilaspur (town) for examination," Jaideep Singh, commanding officer of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), told IANS.
However, the third worker, Hirdya Ram, was yet to be found."We have successfully rescued two people. The NDRF men are going into the tunnel again to search for the third worker. For us, the operation is not over. We are hopeful. The operation is still going on. Why should we lose hope of locating the third one?" Bilaspur Deputy Commissioner Manasi Sahay Thakur told reporters at the spot.Earlier, the NDRF penetrated the roof of the tunnel for its men to rescue the workers.For the past five days, a 50-odd member team comprising engineers, technical staff and geologists drilled a 42-metre vertical shaft through the mountain in its bid to rescue the workers.
A snag in the drilling machine hampered the evacuation throughout Sunday.Of the 1.2-km proposed traffic tunnel of the Kiratpur-Manali expressway road project, 275 metres was excavated when disaster struck on September 12.The contract for tunnel laying, involving an outlay of Rs.82 crore, has been assigned to the Chandigarh-based Himalayan Construction Co, three of whose workers, belonging to the hill state, were trapped.