Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: Technical Snag Pauses Rescue Ops To Save 41 Workers

41 workers, stranded in the Silkyara tunnel since 12 November, are expected to be brought out soon.

2 min read

Operations to rescue 41 trapped workers at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi, which reached its last stage on Thursday, 23 November, has been halted due to a technical snag.

However, Former advisor to the Prime Minister's Office Bhaskar Khulbe said that the rescue operation might be completed by Friday evening if the snag is done away with, news agency PTI reported.

The workers have been trapped since the tunnel collapsed on 12 November.

Rescue ops: Efforts to create an escape passage for the trapped workers had resumed on Wednesday night, 22 November, with officials placing broad pipes through the debris.

Rescue officials will have to drill the debris to a distance of approximately 57 metres to reach the stranded men on the other side.

So far, 800-diameter steel pipes have gone through the rubble to around 46.8 metres.

"Yesterday, there was hurdle came while doing drilling in the debris," said Dr Neeraj Khairwal, secretary of the Uttarakhand government on Thursday.

"Triangle shape, girder got stuck due to which auger machine was also broke down after crossing 45 meters. Then we had to pull out the machine from the pipe," he said.

He further added, "Then we sent expert of NDRF official inside 45 meters to see the mouth. It was very hot inside. Then we called two experts –Balvir and Parminder – to see and conduct the operation of cutting the hurdle."

The operation had also been suspended on Friday last week after the auger machine hit a hard surface.

Essentials being provided: Meanwhile, extensive healthcare arrangements have been made for workers as they are expected to come out through the pipes on Thursday.

"Our post-rescue action plan is ready. We have prepared final details about where to take them (rescued workers), how to take them. We will have a green corridor in place for their movement," Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police Arpan Yaduvanshi told news agency PTI.

Earlier, a food pipeline of six inches in diameter had been laid to deliver food and other essential items to the workers. An endoscopic flexi camera was also sent through the rubble, which brought out the first visuals of the stranded men on Tuesday, 21 November.

PM takes stock: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to take stock of the situation. The PM is said to have asked about sufficient food, medicines, and other essential items being pushed through the pipes.

(With inputs from PTI and India Today.)

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Topics:  Uttarakhand   Tunnel 

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