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Aussie 'mastermind' who led rescue of 41 trapped workers says it's 'a miracle'

Arnold Dix has been dubbed an international hero after the rescue of 41 men from a collapsed tunnel in India.

A Melbourne man has become an international hero after bringing to safety a group of Indian workers who were trapped beneath a collapsed tunnel in the Himalayas for 17 days.

Arnold Dix, a lawyer and engineer, has been dubbed the "mastermind" behind the risky rescue which involved digging through "millions of tonnes" of rock that had fallen on top of 41 men in the tunnel.

Dix, the president of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, flew to India on November 20 after the government called for reinforcements to help save the trapped workers. Dix told Today he didn't hesitate.

"It's about helping your friends," he said from the rescue site after successfully freeing the men who miraculously emerged uninjured.

Melbourne man Arnold Dix after India rescue mission.
Melbourne man Arnold Dix led the risky rescue mission that saved 41 trapped workers in India. Source: Today/Nine

"I don’t think there’s any words to describe how we’re feeling," he told Sky News Australia host Peter Stefanovic on Wednesday morning. "This is like a real-life miracle thing happening up here.

"We’ve somehow managed to squirrel our way through millions of tonnes of avalanche and rescue some men who have been trapped for a few weeks."

It was a delicate mission, according to Dix, a tunnelling expert with a Science and Law Degree from Monash University, as there was a big possibility the mountain hadn't finished collapsing.

"The thing is with this game that we're playing, if we make a wrong move, everyone dies," Dix told 9 News. "Not only does everyone die who is in there, but probably us as well ."

'Phenomenal' outcome of 'nerve-racking' mission

The international hero said the entire mission was "nerve-racking" and said he's "excited" for it to be over. He said it was a "phenomenal" outcome given the risk. "We've actually managed to pull off a miracle," he said.

The men who were trapped were engaged in building a 4.5km motorway tunnel when it partially collapsed on November 12 following a landslide. The tunnel lies in a region dotted with Hindu temples close to the town of Uttarkashi.

Dix noted that the trapped men were safe and warm, and were provided food and medications through narrow access tunnels.

The workers underwent initial medical check-ups, after which, ambulances took them to a hospital for further examination, local news reports.

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