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Uttarakhand tunnel crash: ‘Licked rock water, ate ‘muri’ to survive’

Updated on: 30 November,2023 05:43 AM IST  |  Ranchi
Agencies |

Rescued worker describes fear and ordeal of first 10 days

Uttarakhand tunnel crash: ‘Licked rock water,  ate ‘muri’ to survive’

Rescued workers being airlifted to AIIMS Rishikesh aboard IAF’s Chinook helicopter. Pic/PTI

Anil Bediya, one of the 41 labourers who were rescued from a collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel after 17 days, survived the ordeal by eating ‘muri’ (puffed rice) and licking water dripping from rocks. The 22-year-old worker hailing from Jharkhand had a close brush with death after a portion of the Silkyara tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway in Uttarakhand collapsed early on November 12.

“Loud shrieks punctuated the air...We all thought we would be buried inside the tunnel and had lost all hope during the first couple of days,” Bediya told PTI over the phone from Uttarakhand on Wednesday while narrating their harrowing tale. “It was a nightmarish ordeal...we licked water dripping from rocks to quench our thirst and survived on muri for the first 10 days,” Bediya, who is now recuperating at a Uttarakhand hospital, said.

“Our first hope of survival kindled when the authorities established contact with us after nearly 70 hours,” Bediya recounted. According to him, two of their supervisors asked them to drink water dripping through the rocks. “We had no other option but to relieve ourselves inside the tunnel,” he said.

Survivors airlifted to AIIMS for checks

Workers rescued from the Silkyara tunnel were airlifted to AIIMS-Rishikesh for a health check-up on Wednesday, officials said. The workers were kept under medical observation at a hospital in Chinyalisaur after their evacuation. They were brought to AIIMS-Rishikesh in a Chinook helicopter in the afternoon.

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An official at AIIMS-Rishikesh said the workers will first be taken to the trauma ward of the hospital from where they will be shifted to the disaster ward for a detailed examination of their health parameters. Their mental health will also be checked, he said adding they will be kept under observation. 

Cong seeks audit of all in-progress projects

The Congress demanded a thorough audit of all projects under implementation while also calling for putting on hold all future Himalayan region projects and subjecting them to professional ecological scrutiny. Congress’ Jairam Ramesh said while “we salute the rescued workers and applaud the rescue team”, there should be a reflection on questions thrown up after tunnel collapse.

70 hrs
Time it took to connect with trapped workers

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