That One Phone Call Which Saved 12 Lives In Uttarakhand: Survivor’s Tale

Prerna Magan
·2-min read

There is always a way out even when all the hope is lost.

“We heard people screaming at us to come out of the tunnel but before we could react, a sudden gush of water and heavy silt swamped upon us,” rescued worker Lal Bahadur said.

11 more workers along with Lal Bhadur were rescued by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) from an underground tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on the evening of 8th February.

One of them found their mobile phone working and somehow managed to call the authorities, explaining their situation.

According to the officials, the twelve men remained stuck there for about seven hours, from around 10 am to 5 pm, till they were finally evacuated by the rescuers.

Rescue effort continues
Rescue effort continues

They are now being treated at an Indo-Tibetan Border Police hospital in Joshimath, which is about 25 km from the incident spot. The place where they are being treated is also the base of the ITBP’s Battalion No. 1, which guards the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China that runs along with the state.

“We lost hope…but then we saw some light and felt some air to breathe…suddenly one of us found he had network on his mobile and then he called up our general manager informing him about our situation,” a man said from the hospital bed.

Also Read: Devastating Images From The Uttarakhand Glacial Outburst

A report by NDTV says that the ITBP teams, armed with ropes, pulleys, and carabiners, rappelled down a steep slope and brought out these men from the narrow snout of the tunnel on Sunday evening.

Vinod Singh Pawar, a resident of Joshimath, said they climbed up half-way inside the tunnel through the rods but got stuck as a gush of water came in.

“We are thankful to the ITBP rescuers for saving us,” he said.

The remains of the dam along the river in Tapovan
The remains of the dam along the river in Tapovan

At least, 19 people lost their lives and more than 200 people have been reported missing after a chunk of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off near Raini village of Chamoli District, causing a massive amount of damage by crushing two hydroelectric projects and many homes.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: NDTV, The Hindu, The Indian Express

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