Rescuers dig out 40 workers trapped in a collapsed road tunnel in northern India

Rescuers are digging out parts of a mud and rubble road tunnel to reach 40 laborers trapped in a landslide in northern India.

LUCKNOW, India — Rescue workers dug through mud and parts of a collapsed road tunnel Monday to reach 40 workers trapped in a landslide at a construction project in northern India.

All the construction workers are safe and have been given oxygen and water, police officer Prashant Kumar said. He said rescuers have established contact with the trapped people.

The collapse occurred on Sunday in Uttarakhand, a hilly region dotted with Hindu temples that attracts many pilgrims and tourists.

Uttarakhand has seen massive construction of buildings and roads in recent years. The trapped workers were building a section of the Chardam All-Weather Road, the central government’s flagship project to connect various Hindu holy places.

Rajesh Pawar, project manager of Navyuk Construction, which is overseeing the construction of the tunnel, confirmed the number of trapped workers on Monday.

Rescue efforts began on Sunday, with officials pumping oxygen into the collapsed section of the tunnel to help them breathe.

“The team has advanced 15 meters (yards) in the tunnel and 35 meters (yards) are still uncovered,” Kumar said, adding that more than 150 rescuers had used drilling rigs and excavators to clear the debris through the night.

The collapsed section of the 4.5-kilometer (2.7-mile) tunnel is about 200 meters (500 feet) from the entrance, officials told the Press Trust of India news agency.

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In January, Uttarakhand state authorities shifted hundreds of people to temporary shelters after a temple collapsed and more than 600 houses cracked as the region’s Joshimath town and surrounding land submerged.

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