Rescue Ops At Uttarakhand’s Tunnel Enters Day 5; Workers Stuck For 96 Hrs Get Food, Medicines

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Rescue Ops At Uttarakhand’s Tunnel Enters Day 5; Workers Stuck For 96 Hrs Get Food, Medicines

Today marked the fifth day of rescue efforts to free 40 construction workers who are trapped beneath debris in a collapsed tunnel in the Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand. The workers have been trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand for more than ninety-six hours, with their lives in jeopardy. Food and medications are being supplied in sufficient quantities to the stranded laborers. 

Day 5 Of Rescue Ops At Uttarakhand’s Silkyara Tunnel

When the Silkyara Tunnel project collapsed on November 12, about forty construction workers were trapped beneath the debris. The incident took place after a portion of a tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon, which was under construction, collapsed. 

Rescue personnel are in constant contact with the workers to make sure their hope is not dashed and their spirits are not broken. Elite rescue teams from Norway and Thailand have teamed up to support the current rescue effort. One of these teams was responsible for the successful rescue of the children who were trapped in a Thai cave in 2018.

A pivotal moment in the rescue effort occurred with the introduction of an “American auger” device into the tunnel. It is believed that this specialized equipment will expedite the clearance procedure and get the stranded personnel closer to safety.

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Fresh Landslide Hampered The Efforts

Disassembled, the ‘American auger’ machine landed at the Chinyalisaur airfield, more than 30 km away from the collapsed tunnel on the Char Dham pilgrimage path. The idea is to use the machine to dig a way through the wreckage of the tunnel portion that collapsed. 

One by one, 800- and 900-mm-diameter mild steel pipe segments will be inserted after the path is clear. The workers who are stuck on the other side of the debris will be able to crawl to safety after this process is finished.

After more than 70 hours of nonstop work, a new landslide yesterday hampered the rescue efforts. Rescue workers had spent hours building a platform for the “American auger,” but the new landslide compelled them to dismantle the apparatus and begin building the platform anew. 

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Uttarakhand CM Visited The Site

On Wednesday, Pushkar Singh Dhami, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, gave an update on the ongoing relief and rescue operations at the Silkyara tunnel, which is still under construction. 

Dhami spoke with officials about the plan being implemented to safely extract the imprisoned workers. He continued by saying that everyone involved in the rescue efforts inside the tunnel under construction will receive all available resources and technical assistance as quickly as feasible. 

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inquired about the status of the rescue operations with the Chief Minister.

Authorities reported that the stranded labourers are secure, that contact has been established with them, and that oxygen is being given via a conduit installed in the tunnel for the purpose of supplying water. Food supplies were sent to the stranded labourers via the same conduit at night by applying pressure using a compressor.

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We hope all the 40 workers get rescued safely soon.

Cover Image Courtesy: @Kingaa009/X(formerly Twitter)

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