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Chamoli disaster: How 12 got the kiss of life from mobile network

It was local worker Birendra Kumar, whose call made the difference between life and death.

Published: 09th February 2021 08:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2021 08:55 AM   |  A+A-

Rescue operations underway near Tapovan Tunnel in Chamoli. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Rescue operations underway near Tapovan Tunnel in Chamoli. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

RAINI: Trapped in a tunnel filled with water for nearly six hours, he thought it was going to be the end of his life. K Sriniwas Reddy, a geologist from Hyderabad, couldn’t think of anything else after hearing a deafening noise followed by a sudden gush of water. But when all seemed over, the mobile network on a colleague’s phone saved their lives. Reddy is one of the lucky 12 rescued on Sunday.

“I thought we are not going to survive this,” said Reddy, who found himself locked in a tunnel which is part of the Tapovan hydel power project. “We tried frantically to reach the mouth of the tunnel and then realised that it was blocked. But there was light coming through a small opening and a colleague of ours had signal on his phone. I feel blessed as I am safe now.”

It was local worker Birendra Kumar, whose call made the difference between life and death. “We were panicking and suddenly, I felt my phone vibrate. I called up my boss to say we were inside the tunnel. He informed authorities and the men in uniform saved our lives. We thank them. They are our gods,” said Kumar, a resident of Dhak village in Chamoli.“We were cautious about using heavy machinery which could have hurt them,” said Sanjay Kumar, ITBP officer. 



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