Ten labourers working at the opening of the tunnel in Makerkote area of Ramban district were buried when a portion of the hillside came off on Thursday evening.
During the joint rescue operation comprising multiple agencies, three labourers were rescued, while the body of an unidentified labourer was also recovered on Friday afternoon.
“In view of the fresh landslide at the mishap site, there are little chances of their (labourers’) survival,” said Ramban Deputy Commissioner Mussarat Islam, who, along with senior officials of the police, NHAI and the construction company, was supervising the rescue operations.
Those still trapped have been identified as Jadav Roy (23), Gautam Roy(22), Sudhir Roy(31), Dipak Roy (33), Parimal Roy (38), all from West Bengal; Shiva Chowhn (26) from Assam; Nawaraj Chowdhury (26) and Khushi Ram (25), both from Nepal; Muzaffar (38) and Israt (30), both locals.
A number of tunnels are under construction as part of the widening of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and this is the first such accident.
The victims had only punctured 3 metres of the hillside on Makerkote side of the tunnel when the mishap took place, sources said. The Ramban DC said rescue teams had almost cleared the debris after an over 14-hour-long operation, but the operation had to be suspended following a fresh landslide around 4.30pm on Friday.
With weather also turning hostile, he said “the rescue operation will resume depending on clear weather and safe conditions at the site for the rescue workers’’. The audit tunnel is part of a T-3 tunnel being built to bypass the landslide prone Panthiyal stretch on the highway. At least five tunnels are being constructed to bypass this 3-km-long “killer’’ stretch from Panthyal to Makerkote, sources said.