Australian Story: April 15

ABC explores the bizarre career path that led Arnold Dix to being called to a rescue location high in the Indian Himalayas.

Next week Australian Story profiles Arnold Dix who travelled to India to spearhead a successful rescue of 41 workers in the Himalayas.

In November last year, an eccentric flower farmer from Monbulk, Victoria, became a global sensation after he helped free 41 Indian workers trapped underground in a tunnel collapse.

For many locals, those news reports were the first indication that Arnold lived an extraordinary life beyond their town. In addition to being the self-confessed “worst famer in Monbulk”, he was a barrister, scientist, engineer, and the tunnelling expert people around the world turned to when things go wrong.

Australian Story explores the bizarre and circuitous career path that led Arnold Dix to his moment of international recognition last year, when he was called to the remote location high in the Indian Himalayas.

Dix explains the difficult situation that faced him at the site of the collapse and the pressure he felt as the whole of India became transfixed by the unfolding drama. He explains how decades of experience “listening to the rock” helped him read the situation and find a way to get the men out safely after 17 days entombed behind an avalanche.

“We try to trick the mountain and sneak in to get these men,” he tells Australian Story.

When all 41 workers were rescued alive, Arnold became a hero in India. He tried to slip out of the country quietly but by coincidence ended up at an airport with 17 of the workers, an emotional meeting captured on his iphone and shown here.

“We showed the world that good people working together can do the impossible,” he says.

The story features interviews with Arnold, his family and friends, and India’s chief engineer, who watched as Arnold threw himself into the rescue effort.

8pm Monday on ABC.

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