Motilal Kol, one the labourers rescued from a tunnel which caved in, had lost all hope of coming out alive and asked another trapped worker to tell his mother to stay calm if he dies under the rubble.
“I told my friend Nandkumar Yadav to tell my mother that I will be born to her in my next life,” a sobbing Mr Kol told PTI on Sunday at the Katni district hospital, where he is currently undergoing treatment.
Recalling the nightmare he faced on Saturday when he was inside the under-construction tunnel in Sleemanabad, Kol (30), a resident of Singrauli district in Madhya Pradesh, said at around 7 pm, he experienced tremors underground and the laborers on the ground raised an alarm to run away.
In a split second, a part of the tunnel caved in, Mr Kol said.
“Yadav and I had a near death experience. The people on the ground above asked whether we needed water to drink, but I refused. We pleaded that oxygen be pumped into the tunnel,” he said.
Mr Kol said he was rescued after Yadav, at around 4 am on Sunday.
Mr Yadav (32), who also belongs to Singrauli, said he felt as if the stars were tumbling around him while he was trapped.
Two more survivors Vijay Kol and Indramani Kol, in the age group of 25 to 30 years, also shared a similar experience.
The four survivors said they tried to comfort each other while being trapped inside the tunnel.
The survivors also said they did not hear the voices of co-worker Goralal and supervisor Ravi, who were also inside the tunnel at the time of the incident.
Mr Goralal, a native of Singrauli, and Mr Ravi, a resident of neighboring Maharashtra, were still trapped under the debris, as per officials.
The tunnel of the Bargi canal project had caved in late Saturday night, trapping nine labourers.
Out of them, seven have so far been rescued, according to Additional Superintendent of Police Manoj Kedia.
Efforts were on to rescue the other two trapped workers, said MP Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Rajesh Rajora, who was monitoring the rescue operation from Bhopal.