Old image shared as construction worker stuck in collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel

By: Rajini KG
November 27 2023

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Old image shared as construction worker stuck in collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel

Screenshot of social media posts sharing the viral image. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The viral image of the man has been online since 2019. It is not related to the recent collapse of the tunnel in Uttarakhand.

Claim ID 309729ee


On November 12, the Silkyara Bend-Barkot tunnel, which is being constructed in the hill state of Uttrakhand in northern India, collapsed, trapping 41 construction workers. A rescue operation is underway to safely bring out the workers who have been stuck inside the tunnel for the past 16 days.

Meanwhile, an image of a man wearing a miner's helmet and crouching is being shared on social media with a claim implying it shows one of the workers stuck inside. An X (formerly Twitter) user shared the image (archived here) with the caption, "What is the point of reaching the moon if we can't rescue our people trapped in a tunnel from last 15 days. We are never pre-prepared for such things." The user shared the picture with the hashtags: #UttarakhandTunnelRescue and #UttarakhandTunnel. The post had received over 94,000 views and 1,000 likes at the time of publishing. Many X users also shared the image with the same narrative. Archived versions of such posts can be viewed here and here.

Screenshot of posts sharing the viral image. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the image has been online since at least 2019, and is not recent. 

Here are the facts

Through a reverse-image search, we found that Facebook user 'قاسم سلطانی/Qasem Sultani' had shared the viral image on May 2, 2019. The image was captioned, "The most painful picture. A tale of forty years of impeachment war! (roughly translated from Arabic)" 

Bio of the Facebook user read, "Herat Province in Afghanistan and graduated from the Faculty of Law and Political Science, a civil and media activist." We have reached out to the user for more information on where the picture was captured and who the man in the photograph is. We will update the story if and when we receive a reply.

Screenshot of the 2019 Facebook post. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

We also found that the viral image has been circulating on social media over the past few years; it was shared in 2020 on Facebook and in 2022 on TikTok.

Though we have not been able to independently verify the location and identity of the man in the image, there is enough evidence to indicate that the image is old and cannot be from the recent Uttarakhand tunnel collapse.

The Uttarakhand tunnel collapse

The Silkyara Bend-Barkot tunnel project was approved by the Indian government in February 2018. The under-construction tunnel, which has trapped the workers inside, aims to connect four Hindu temples (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri) under the Chardham Project. A rescue operation has been underway since November 12, but the rescue efforts have run into some challenges. Rescue officials used an auger drilling machine to dig into the debris, but it got stuck inside, and the blades were damaged. Currently, officials have opted for manual drilling techniques with the help of Indian Army engineers, rat miners, and other technicians, The Indian Express reported. 

The verdict

An old image that has been online since 2019 has been falsely shared as a picture of a worker trapped inside the under-construction Silkyara Bend-Barkot tunnel in Uttarakhand. Hence, we rate this claim as false. 

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