Some of the 41 Indian miners who have already been trapped in an underground tunnel for 10 days were seen for the first time on Tuesday as rescuers continue to hunt relentlessly to reach them.
An endoscopic camera was sent down the thin pipe, used to supply oxygen, food and water to the trapped miners, and returned images of the exhausted men.
Footage that has been made available shows the men huddle around the camera as the rescue workers assure them that they will be saved.
Since November 12, when a section of the tunnel collapsed in Uttarakhand in northern India, excavators have been used to remove tons of debris, soil and concrete in an attempt to reach the miners.
However, rescue efforts are progressing slowly due to various challenges, including further collapses and machinery breaking down. The Air Force has already had to transport new equipment to the scene on two occasions.
Rescue workers used to communicate with the miners by means of a radio device before the camera could finally be sent to the trapped miners.
“The workers are all completely safe,” said Pushkar Singh Dhami, Prime Minister of Uttarakhand. “We are working as hard as we can to get them up here as soon as possible.”
According to Dhami, he was in touch with Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and Modi said the main priority should be to save the miners.