A part of an under-construction tunnel has collapsed on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, trapping at least 13 labourers, three of whom were rescued, officials said on Friday.
The incident occurred late on Thursday night and the rescue operation was in full swing. Officials said the three rescued workers have been admitted to hospitals.
Several machines and trucks have been damaged in the incident. "Around 10.15 pm on Thursday, the audit tunnel of T3 on the highway near Khooni Nallah in Ramban collapsed, trapping 11-12 labourers of Sarla Company working there," a senior official said.
The rescue operation started at midnight and was going on in full swing with rock breakers being used to reach the trapped people, he said, adding one of the three injured have been taken to the Government Medical College hospital in Jammu.
Union minister Jitendra Singh termed the collapse of a part of the under-construction tunnel on the national highway stretch between Ramban and Ramsu "unfortunate".
"I'm in constant touch with DC Mussrat Islam. Nearly 10 labour workers were trapped under the debris. Another two were rescued and hospitalised with injuries. Rescue operations going on in full swing. Civil administration and police authorities are monitoring the situation," he said.
Those trapped inside the tunnel are West Bengal residents Jadav Roy (23) Gautam Roy (22), Sudhir Roy (31), Dipak Roy (33) and Parimal Roy (38), Shiva Chowhn (26) from Assam, Nepali citizens Nawaraj Chowdhury (26) and Kushi Ram (25), and Jammu and Kashmir residents Muzaffar (38) and Israt (30), officials said.
The hospitalised include Vishnu Gola (33) of Jharkhand and Ameen (26) of Jammu and Kashmir. All of them were employed by a company tasked with auditing the tunnel, they said.
Deputy Commissioner of Ramban Massaratul Islam and Senior Superintendent of Police Mohita Sharma are at the spot along with the deputy inspector general of police, supervising the rescue operation.