Australia's Professor Arnold Dix has assisted the rescue operations at the Uttarkashi tunnel as a tunnelling expert providing technical guidance and support for a successful and safe evacuation of the trapped workers. He is an integral part of the team behind the daring rescue along with Lt Gen (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, Micro-tunnelling expert Chris Cooper, and IAS officer Neeraj Khairwal.
Who is Professor Arnold Dix?
Arnold is a professor of Engineering President International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association and a barrister who has had project hands on experience dealing with risk management, problem solving, and investigations. He holds years of experience and first hand knowledge of most international fire and life safety standards for the underground, as per his official website.
Earlier, the Australian expert served on the United States National Fire Protections Underground Road and Rail Committees and delivered advices to the Federal Highways Administration and Colorado Department of Transport. He was honoured with an award for excellence in tunnelling in 2011 by the Alan Neyland Australasian Tunnelling Society.
Arnold Dix & Uttarkashi Rescue Ops
On November 12, a section of the Uttarkashi tunnel in Uttarakhand collapsed leaving workers trapped inside. The mishap took place between 205 and 260 metres from the Silkyara side and blocked the exit for those workers beyond the 260-metre mark. Dix and his rescue team planned and executed it to bring all trapped Indians outside safely.
He received praises from Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for his works. "A wonderful achievement by Indian authorities. Proud that Australian Professor Arnold Dix played a role on the ground," Albanese posted on X (formerly Twitter).
In visuals surfaced from the site, Dix was seen offering prayers to the local temple deity and hoping for a safe evacuation. Speaking to the Indian media, he said, "It's been my honour to serve, and as a parent, it's been my honour to help out all the parents getting their children home...We worked as a wonderful team. India has the best engineers... It was just a joy to be part of this successful mission."