Rescuers drilled deeper into the rubble of a collapsed road tunnel in northern India on Friday to fix wide pipes for 40 workers trapped underground for a sixth day to crawl to their freedom.
Drilling with a new machine started on Thursday and has covered a stretch of 78 feet so far, Devendra Patwal, a disaster management official, said.
It may require up to 195 feet to enable the trapped workers’ escape, Patwal told The Associated Press on Friday.
However, the drilling was interrupted on Friday afternoon when damage was caused to some machine bearings by the breaking of rocks and clearing the debris, said Anshu Manish Khalko, director of the National Highway Authority.
The machine is being repaired and anchored, he added.
Khalko said another heavy-duty drilling machine is being brought to the tunnel to continue the drilling uninterrupted. It is expected to reach the site on Saturday.
Earlier, the rescuers had hoped to complete the drilling by Friday night and create an escape tunnel of pipes welded together.