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First 24 hours were like a nightmare: Tunnel survivor

Says mood changed dramatically the moment outside contact was established

First 24 hours were like a nightmare: Tunnel survivor

Vishal being welcomed by his mother as he reached his native village Bangot in Mandi on Friday.



Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, December 1

Barring the first 24 hours after the tunnel collapse at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand when they had lost all hope of coming out alive, the 41 workers trapped inside remained confident that they would be taken out safely.

A visibly relieved Vishal, who arrived at his native Bangot village in Mandi district today, was given a hero’s welcome by his family, relatives and friends. The family went through a harrowing time as the wait for rescue from the tunnel stretched endlessly, at times dimming their hopes.

Vishal said, “The mood inside the tunnel changed dramatically the moment outside contact was established. The first 24 hours were like a nightmare with all of us feeling that it was a matter of time before we all would die inside the tunnel.”

“After 24 hours, our contact was established with company officials outside tunnel. It gave us a ray of hope. The company officials informed us about the rescue operation and we were waiting desperately to come out of the tunnel safely on each passing day of the rescue operation,” said Vishal.

Vishal said that initial 10 days inside the tunnel after its collapse were tough. Recalling the horrifying experience, he said, “There was shortage of food material inside the tunnel early on and we survived on dry fruits and popcorn sent from outside through a pipe inserted for oxygen supply in the tunnel. After that, we got sufficient food supply from outside through a pipe which kept our hopes of survival high.”

Unwilling to return on work at Uttarkashi to construct the tunnel, Vishal said, “I urge the state government to provide me job in Himachal.”

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