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Hang on fasteners for hours together

Rajesh Kumar was working on 300 meters inside a tunnel in the valley and tells the AFP news agency from the hospital bed how they heard some kind of whistle and then was called and shouted that they should leave the tunnel. AFP

A man who was stuck in a water- and soil-filled tunnel following the tsunami in the Himalayas with his co-workers on Saturday says they did not think they would survive this.

It is still about 200 Missing and 18 Deaths have been confirmed after a glacial eruption caused a major tsunami in an Indian valley in the northern part of the Himalayas.

Rajesh Kumar was working about 300 meters inside a tunnel in the valley and describes it to the AFP newsroom from the hospital bed how they heard some kind of whistle and then were called and shouted that they should leave the tunnel. He thought it was a fire and ran off before water, soil and debris began to flow into the tunnel. “It was like a Hollywood movie,” says Kumar.

He and his co-workers managed to hang on scaffold mounts and keep their heads above the water’s surface for four hours before the water level finally dropped. . Kumar says that they have been diligent in counting each other’s thoughts and thanked the gods that their hands had not lost their grip.

The water level did not go down one and a half meters but those friends tried to to wade to the walkway and then came to a small opening, which Kumar says they did not know where it led, but they felt fresh air coming through.

Finally they saw a light in through the hole and one of his colleagues got a phone call and called for help. The men were then helped through the small hole and most of them escaped largely unharmed, although a few were carried away on bars and one of them fell straight in front of them into the mud after celebrating his freedom.

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