BILASPUR: For over 140 hours, three men have been trapped deep inside a tunnel that collapsed on Saturday night in the hills of Himachal Pradesh.

Efforts to rescue them looked promising after two of the men showed up on a CCTV camera that had been inserted down a pipe yesterday.

“We can survive for another 7-8 days…Please keep going,” one of the men, Satish Tomar, pleaded, worried that rescue teams may give up. Next to him, Maniram nodded silently. They are clinging to hope; their third companion Hriday Ram is missing since a large section of the tunnel they were working on caved in, bringing boulders crashing down.

The 1200 meter tunnel is being built as part of a four-lane highway project that is expected to vastly improve travel in the hilly terrain. Most of the men working on it were able to come out safely when a part of it suddenly gave way.

Cashew nuts, almonds, glucose biscuits and water are being pushed down a pipe for the survivors.

At the accident site around 110 km from the capital Shimla, villagers have been monitoring the slow and painstaking rescue. In red plastic chairs under a tent, family members of the trapped men wait for good news. Only the disaster response team, doctors and road experts know what is really going on.

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