Rescue efforts intensify for trapped workers in Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel

Rescue efforts intensify for trapped workers in Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel

Rescue efforts intensify for trapped workers in Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) announced on Sunday that efforts are underway to recover the damaged auger machine components and initiate manual digging, along with the commencement of vertical drilling, to rescue 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi for the past 14 days.

Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, a member of the NDMA, said, according to PTI, that various strategies are being implemented to rescue the workers. The second-best option, vertical drilling, began around noon, with 15 meters already completed. Hasnain explained that after reaching 86 meters in vertical drilling, the tunnel crust would need to be broken to extract the trapped workers.

Highlighting ongoing efforts, Hasnain mentioned that six rescue plans are in progress, with horizontal drilling being the most promising, having completed 47 meters. Machines for perpendicular drilling are anticipated to arrive at the site during the night.

Simultaneously, the recovery of the damaged auger machine parts, obstructed during horizontal drilling, is in progress using magna and plasma cutters. Once retrieved, a 15-meter manual digging process will commence to reach the trapped workers, acknowledging that it may take time.

Hasnain emphasised the collaborative efforts of all concerned agencies for the success of the rescue operation.

A plasma cutter from Hyderabad was flown in on Sunday to remove the obstructed parts of the auger machine within the Silkyara tunnel rubble.

Complete disengagement of the machine is essential to resume the rescue work, involving manually pushing pipes through rubble to create an escape passage.

Additionally, a unit of Madras Sappers, an engineer group from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, has arrived to assist in the rescue operations.

The auger machine, drilling through the collapsed tunnel rubble, faced complications on Friday night when its blades got stuck, prompting officials to explore alternative options that could extend the rescue operation duration significantly.

On the 14th day of rescue mission, focus shifted to two alternatives: manual drilling through the remaining 10- or 12-meter stretch of rubble or, more likely, drilling down 86 meters from above.

With inpurts from PTI