Arnold Dix: Australian Tunnel Expert Who Believe In Hinduism, But This Is Not All About Him

New Delhi: When a stretch of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel collapsed on November 12, 2023, trapping 41 workers inside, it seemed like a hopeless situation. The tunnel, part of the Char Dham road project in Uttarakhand, was buried under tons of debris and mud, with no sign of life from the workers. The rescue operation, involving multiple agencies and machines, faced several challenges and setbacks, as the tunnel proved to be unstable and unpredictable. 

But there was one man who never gave up hope and worked tirelessly to find a way to reach the trapped workers. He was Arnold Dix, an Australian barrister, scientist, and professor of engineering, who is also the president of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA). The foreign expert Arnold Dix also performed worship and bowed his head at a temporary temple of Baba Bokhanag built near the mouth of the tunnel.

Dix is a world-renowned expert on tunnel safety and disaster investigations, who has been involved in several high-profile projects and cases, such as the Channel Tunnel, the Sydney Metro, and the 2010 Chilean mine rescue.

Dix Provided Technical Solutions In Tunnel Rescue

Dix was roped in by the Indian government to assist in the rescue operation, and he arrived on the site on November 20. He inspected the tunnel, coordinated with the various agencies, and suggested technical solutions to overcome the difficulties of drilling through the rubble. He also provided moral support and encouragement to the rescuers and the families of the workers, assuring them that they would be saved by Christmas.

Dix’s efforts paid off on November 28, when all the 41 workers were successfully evacuated from the tunnel, after 17 days of being trapped. Dix expressed his relief and gratitude at the temple outside the tunnel, where he had prayed for the workers’ safety. He also praised the resilience and cooperation of the Indian authorities and the local community, who had worked together to make the rescue possible.\

Dix’s Illustrious Career

Dix’s career is marked by numerous accolades, reflecting his significant contributions to tunnel safety worldwide. He has received awards from the Australasian Tunnelling Society, the National Fire Protection Association of the USA, and the International Association for Fire Safety Science. He has also founded the Underground Works Chambers, a platform to provide a safer contractual space for underground works.

Dix is not only a tunnelling expert, but also a humanitarian, who believes in using his skills and knowledge to save lives and improve infrastructure. He has said that he is motivated by the “human element” of his work, and that he feels a “deep connection” with the people he helps. He has also said that he is inspired by India’s culture and spirituality, and that he considers India as his second home.

Dix’s role in the Uttarakhand tunnel rescue has earned him admiration and appreciation from both India and Australia. He has been hailed as a hero and a friend by the Indian media and the public, who have thanked him for his selfless service.

He has also been lauded by the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, who said that Dix had shown that Australia is “not just fantastic in cricket, but also in tunnelling”. Dix has modestly said that he was just doing his job, and that he was glad to be of help.