New Delhi: Australian High Commissioner to India Philip Green on Monday honoured international tunnelling expert Arnold Dix for the Uttarkashi rescue and called him the hero of Australia-India bilateral relations.
“We are enormously proud of him (Dix). He has played an important role in a vital rescue. It is a matter of joy for all of us that all 41 men are safe. It is a matter of great happiness that he was part of the effort to rescue them. We are all in your debt; you are a hero of this nation, a hero of Australia-India bilateral relations,” Green said.
International tunnelling expert Professor Arnold Dix provided important technical support on the ground in the Uttarakhand tunnel rescue operation.
Speaking at the Australian High Commission, Dix said: “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 expressed that the toughest thing during the rescue was to remain cool and not rush and added that the Uttarkashi rescue was the hardest mission he has done.
Dix also shared his view on the cause of the accident and said, “I haven’t done the forensic investigation of what caused it. From an engineering point of view, the support cast that we use failed, and I don’t know why exactly it failed. I am confident that once we understand that, we can resolve it.”
Interestingly, he was witnessed paying his visit to the temple at the rescue site, on which he said,” I knew this area was most sacred for Hindus; there was no doubt that this mission had an epic dimension to it.”
On lessons learned from this rescue operation, Professor Dix highlighted the need to take arrogance out of engineering.
All 41 workers who were trapped inside Uttarakhand’s Silkyari tunnel since November 12 have been evacuated safely.
On November 12, a section of the tunnel between 205 and 260 metres from the Silkyara side collapsed. Workers who were beyond the 260-metre mark were trapped, with their exit blocked.
Following the safe evacuation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the courage and patience of the trapped workers and their families, as well as the bravery and determination of the rescue personnel.