ANI Photo | “2 nations are now in his debt”: Australian PM commends heroic rescue efforts of Arnold Dix in Uttarakhand tunnel operation

Addressing the Australian Parliament on Friday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese lauded the exceptional contributions of Professor Arnold Dix in improving bilateral relations between Australia and India while recognising his instrumental role in the successful rescue of 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in India’s Uttarakhand state.
Albanese expressed deep admiration for Professor Dix, who serves as the president of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, emphasising his expertise in handling such critical situations.
“I rise to acknowledge a truly great Australian, Professor Arnold Dix, and for what he has done in once again improving the relations between Australia and our great friends in India. Today, because of him and his hard work alongside the Indian authorities, 41 people are alive, safe and free. This is an extraordinary story. For over two weeks, the world has been gripped by these 41 construction workers trapped in a collapsed mountain tunnel in northern India,” said Albanese in the Australian Parliament.
The Australian PM highlighted the meticulous and perilous nature of the rescue operation, quoting Professor Dix’s assertion that a wrong move could have resulted in catastrophic consequences for everyone involved. “As we know only too well, that’s the sort of story that often ends in tragedy. But it didn’t. And that’s where Professor Dix comes in,” he added.
Despite the inherent risks, Professor Dix and his team embarked on a “painstaking process” to save lives, a mission described by Dix as the hardest in his illustrious career. The Australian PM recounted the extraordinary dedication of Professor Dix, who received a message from his wife urging him not to proceed, yet he ventured into the collapsed tunnel to aid individuals he had never met.
Albanese conveyed the joyous outcome of the rescue operation, stating that 41 lives had been saved, families reunited, and India rightfully rejoicing. He extended gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the collaboration and expressed satisfaction that an Australian was able to assist India in this critical time.
“These 41 lives have been saved, families have been reunited, and our friends in India are quite rightly rejoicing. And so to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I say I’m very pleased that an Australian was able to come to India’s aid at this time,” said the Australian PM.
Quoting Professor Dix’s sentiment on helping friends, Albanese emphasised the debt owed by both Australia and India to this great Australian. The PM recognised Dix’s significant contributions, saying, “Professor Dix summed it up best when he said, it’s about helping your friends. So two nations are now in his debt Australia and India. And so to this great Australian, to his big heart, and to his expertise in a very narrow area,” he also said.
Notably, international tunnelling expert Professor Arnold Dix provided important technical support on the ground in the Uttarakhand tunnel rescue operation.
An event was organised by the Australian High Commission in India to honour the commendable work of Professor Dix.
Speaking at the event the tunnelling expert expressed his honour at being part of the rescue operation. He highlighted the impeccable coordination between various stakeholders, including the federal government, state government, rescue agencies, military, and volunteers.
“41 men are home safe and no one is injured. I feel honoured that India took me as honorary father for 41 children and to play a role in bringing them home. I have never in my career seen more wonderful coordination between federal government, state government, rescue agency, military and volunteers,” he said.
Dix shared the challenges faced during the rescue, emphasizing the importance of remaining composed and avoiding haste.
Addressing the cause of the tunnel collapse, Dix admitted that a forensic investigation was needed to determine the failure of the support system. He expressed confidence that understanding the root cause would pave the way for resolution.
Reflecting on the mission’s epic dimension, Dix mentioned his visit to a sacred Hindu temple near the rescue site, underscoring the profound significance of the operation. He concluded by emphasizing the lessons learned, emphasizing the necessity to eliminate arrogance from engineering practices.
The successful evacuation of all 41 workers trapped in Uttarakhand’s Silkyara tunnel marked a significant achievement, earning praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the courage and patience of the workers, their families, and the dedicated rescue personnel.

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