Man survives after being trapped in tunnel of hydel project | india | Hindustan Times
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Man survives after being trapped in tunnel of hydel project

india Updated: Jul 24, 2010 15:00 IST

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In a real life incident more thrilling than a reel life cliff-hanger sequence, a worker who slipped into a tunnel of gushing waters of a hydro electric project, survived after hours of struggle at Kallar near Idukki.

Benny Thomas (39), a casual worker of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), slipped into an augmentation tunnel of Idukki power project at Kallar, while he was engaged in cleaning the trash rack at the opening of the tunnel with some fellow workers on Friday.

Before his colleagues could make an attempt to save him, he was swept away by the fast flowing current. Benny, who emerged through the ordeal after about an hour with minor injuries, said it was still difficult for him to explain how he survived the "life-and-death" struggle.

"I was swept along the gushing waters through the tunnel, which has a radius of 4 metres. Now and then I tried to remain afloat by clinging to the rocky parts of the tunnel. But I was thrown back by the swirling water," Benny told reporters from the hospital at Nedumkandam.

"For a moment I thought everything was over. But I kept on struggling. Finally, I saw a dim light at the end of the tunnel, just like the proverbial ray-of-hope," he said.

As soon as he fell into the tunnel, which is slightly less than 3 kilometes long, Benny's co-workers alerted the police and fire force. They threw floats and rope to enable him to come out.

With their attempts proving futile, they moved to the other end of the tunnel and began to wait desperately.

After anxious hours they were elated to see Benny emerging with minor injuries.

KSEB officials said Benny was a worker engaged by the contractor entrusted with the work of cleaning up the tunnel mouth.