Forty-one workers were stuck in a tunnel in India for 10 days, receiving hot meals as the rescue operation shifted gears

The 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in northern India for over a week will finally receive hot meals on Tuesday, provided by a newly installed steel pipe, as rescuers work on an alternative plan that involves walking vertically towards them dig.

The meals of rice and lentils were sent through the rubble late Monday through a 6-inch pipe, said Deepa Gaur, a government spokeswoman.

For the last nine days, workers survived on dry food sent through a narrower pipe. Oxygen is supplied to them via a separate line.

After pushing a camera through the pipe, officials released video Tuesday showing workers in their construction hats moving through the blocked tunnel and communicating via walkie-talkies with rescuers on the ground.

A worker trapped in a construction tunnel is shown in the Indian state of Uttarakhand on November 21, 2023.
Ministry of Information and Pu/AFP via Getty Images

Their families became increasingly worried and frustrated as the rescue operation dragged on.

The tunnel collapsed in Uttarakhand state, a mountainous region that posed a challenge for the drilling machine, which broke down as rescuers tried to dig horizontally towards the trapped workers.

The machine’s strong vibrations also caused more debris to fall, prompting officials to briefly suspend rescue efforts.

A group of workers trapped days after the tunnel under construction collapsed are shown in the Indian state of Uttarakhand on November 21, 2023.
Ministry of Information and Pu/AFP via Getty Images

Rescuers are currently building an access road to the top of the hill, from where they will dig vertically.

From a vertical direction, drilling to the tunnel will take several days and debris could fall as the digging occurs, officials said Monday.

Rescue teams have to dig 100 meters down to reach the trapped workers – almost twice the distance.

Security personnel and others are seen near the entrance to a road tunnel under construction that collapsed in India’s mountainous state of Uttarakhand on November 16, 2023.

Authorities said they would continue to dig horizontally from the mouth of the tunnel toward the workers.

Workers have been trapped since Nov. 12, when a landslide caused part of the 2.8-mile-long tunnel they were building to collapse about 200 yards from the entrance.

Uttarakhand is dotted with Hindu temples and roads and buildings were constantly being constructed to accommodate the influx of pilgrims and tourists.

Rescue workers are seen at the site of the tunnel in Uttarkashi district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
State Disaster Response Force (S/AFP via Getty Images

The tunnel is part of the Chardham All-Weather Road, a flagship federal project that connects various Hindu pilgrimage sites.

Around 200 disaster relief workers were on site and used drilling equipment and excavators in the rescue operation.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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