Who is Arnold Dix, the tunnelling expert India saluted after 41 workers were rescued from Silkyara tunnel?
Arnold Dix, an internationally recognized expert in tunnelling, played a pivotal role in the rescue operation of 41 workers from collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand. His involvement garnered significant media attention throughout the rescue efforts.
After a tense 17-day operation, rescuers on Tuesday successfully extracted all 41 workers who were trapped in Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel since November 12. The multi-agency effort, marked by fluctuating emotions of hope and despair, culminated in a moment of relief as Union Minister V K Singh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami welcomed the rescued workers.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel utilized a steel chute to guide the workers through a 60-meter passage to safety. The first ambulance, carrying one of the rescued workers, departed around 8 pm, an hour after rat-hole mining experts cleared the final stretch of rubble.
Outside the tunnel, there were scenes of jubilation, with hugs and cheers marking the end of the harrowing ordeal. Observers chanted slogans like "Har Har Mahadev" and "Bharat Mata ki Jai." The ambulances transported the workers to a community health center, equipped with a special 41-bed ward for their immediate medical needs.
Before reaching the health center, the rescued workers underwent a quick medical checkup as they emerged from the steel pipe. Chief Minister Dhami reassured the public, stating that none of the workers were in critical condition. However, he emphasized that the laborers would be kept under medical observation for some time before being allowed to return home.
CM Dhami shared that the youngest worker was the first to be rescued, emphasizing the meticulous planning and execution of the operation. The tunnel collapse occurred on November 12, obstructing the exit for the trapped workers. Throughout the ordeal, essential supplies, including food and medicine, were delivered through a six-inch pipe inserted into the collapsed portion.
Families expressed immense relief as their loved ones were safely brought out of the tunnel. In one such instance, a brother, Sunil from Jharkhand, shared his gratitude over the phone, expressing joy that his brother, Anil, had been rescued. Families were allowed into the tunnel earlier in the day to accompany their loved ones to the medical center.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah praised the commendable efforts of the rescue workers. Modi highlighted the exemplary display of humanity and teamwork, expressing satisfaction that the workers would soon reunite with their families. Shah saluted the grit of the trapped workers for enduring a challenging situation for an extended period.
Who is Arnold Dix?
The final hurdle in the rescue operation involved a group of experts skilled in rat-hole mining, a technique for extracting small amounts of coal through narrow burrows. These experts were called in after an American-made auger boring machine became stuck in the horizontal passage, approximately 47 meters deep. Their manual drilling efforts proved crucial in overcoming this obstacle and ensuring the success of the rescue operation.
Arnold Dix, an internationally recognized expert in tunnelling, played a pivotal role in the rescue operation. His involvement garnered significant media attention throughout the rescue efforts. However, for those unfamiliar, who is Arnold Dix?
Professor Arnold Dix leads the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, headquartered in Geneva. His expertise lies in the domains of underground development and transportation infrastructure. Dix is renowned for his willingness to navigate legal, environmental, political, and ethical challenges associated with underground construction.
Additionally, Professor Dix provides counsel on risks linked to underground construction, earning him global recognition as the foremost authority on underground tunnelling. In 2011, he was presented with the bi-annual Alan Neyland Australasian Tunnelling Society award for outstanding contributions to tunnelling, particularly in the realm of tunnel fire safety. Furthermore, in 2022, Professor Dix was bestowed with a Committee Service Award from the National Fire Protection Association of the United States of America, underscoring his ongoing and significant contributions to shaping codes and standards for tunnel safety.
Here's a look at how India offered their special thanks to Arnold Dix for helping in the safe evacuation of 41 workers: