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MIRACULOUS RESCUE: When All Machines Fail, Indian ‘Rat Miners’ Dig Non-Stop for 26 Hours WITH HAND TOOLS To Free 41 Workers Trapped in a Collapsed Tunnel

  |   By Lou Dobbs Staff

If you need a story to rekindle your love for our fellow human beings, you got one here.

I diligently avoided this story for days on end, I felt it was too horrific: 41 workers were trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in India, while frantic efforts were made to free them.

It is true that they had oxygen, and at some point even food was delivered to them. But the days went on and the attempts to free them failed, you ask yourself: how long can they last?

Finally, 17 days in, it arose that they were sending human diggers, called ‘rat hole miners’ to do the job. They are specialists in dealing with digging in perilous circumstances.

To everyone’s glad surprise and relief, the ‘rat miners’ came through, and saved every one of the 41 trapped workers.

So, now – of course – it’s my favorite story in the whole wide world.

The “rat hole” miners have said that the operation involved 26 hours of digging by hand (tools).

The Guardian reported:

“Munna Qureshi, 33, was the first of the 12-man team to break through a wall of rubble and lay eyes on the 41 workers who had been trapped in the collapsed tunnel in the Himalayan mountains since 12 November. It was his expertise in the method of rat hole mining, which involves making narrow tunnels underground in often high-risk settings, that had led to him and his team being called on for the rescue after a drill broke down.

‘It was a larger-than-life situation and we were driven by the passion to save the lives of people who work like us’, Qureshi said. ‘It became our mission to bring them back alive. We took this as a rare chance to get our work recognized. I feel that the purpose of my life has been fulfilled’.”

Rescued workers welcomed.

That’s what it means to RISE to the occasion. Qureshi said he hoped that the work laborers, hailed as heroes by the politicians, would lead to greater awareness about their value and the risks of their work.

In other words: India, PLEASE value your heroes.

Qureshi and his team usually lay sewers and pipes using the rat hole technique.

Sometimes the pay is just 500 rupees (£5) for 12 hours of work – potentially deprived of oxygen.

“The rescue operation was one of the largest in India’s history, involving multiple government agencies and the army, and it was closely followed by millions of people. A large drill managed to penetrate about 50 metres of the rubble and debris blocking the Silkyara tunnel entrance, and it was the efforts of Qureshi and his team using small hand drills and shovels that led to breaking through the final 12 metres of blockage.”

‘People pinned their hopes on to us and we could not let them down’, Qureshi said. ‘We faced many challenges: we had to cut through metal bars, drill through huge rocks, and we kept pushing further til we reached the end. When we saw the workers on the other side, they were overwhelmed. There was happiness on both sides. On the other side, the workers embraced us and showered us with love for saving their lives. We told them it was not us but God who wanted them to live’.”

The rescued workers were taken to a hospital in the state of Uttarakhand. They were in good spirits after 400 hours in the cut-off tunnel.

Arnold Dix at the Makeshift temple.

Hindustan Times reported:

“International tunneling expert Arnold Dix who was roped in for the Uttarkashi rescue operation on Wednesday said the mission witnessed a miracle and he would go to the temple as he had promised to say ‘thank you’ at the temple when the operation was going on. Hours later, Dix was seen offering his prayers at the temple of local deity Baba Bokh Naag ji.

Arnold Dix heads the Geneva-based International Tunnelling Underground Space Association and is also a geologist, an engineer and a lawyer. ‘It has been my honor as a parent to help out all parents in getting their children back home. Remember, I said in the beginning that 41 people would go home unhurt by Christmas. Christmas is coming early’, Dix said.

[…] Arnold Dix was seen praying at the makeshift temple at the rescue site on Tuesday when the breakthrough was just a matter of time with the rat miners manually digging the way out. The photo created a stir on social media with commentary on faith. ‘When science and technology meet faith. International tunnelling expert Arnold Dix joins a priest in praying for the safe evacuation of 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel, in Uttarakhand’, BJP’s Amit Malviya wrote sharing the photo.”

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