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Business News/ News / India/  Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescuers draw closer to trapped workers as ambulances remain on standby. Latest updates
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Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescuers draw closer to trapped workers as ambulances remain on standby. Latest updates

Rescue efforts continue as more than 40 people remain trapped in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttar Pradesh. Engineers are working on inserting a steel pipe to create an escape passage.

NDRF personnel and others at the under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway (PTI)Premium
NDRF personnel and others at the under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway (PTI)

More than 40 people remain trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttar Pradesh. Rescue efforts continued on Wednesday as officials remained optimistic about ‘good news’ within the next 40 hours. Engineers have been working overtime to drive a steel pipe through at least 57 metres of earth, concrete and rubble.

“Work is being done at a fast pace in the ongoing rescue operation in Silkyara Tunnel, I am in constant touch with the officials in this regard. A total of 45 meters of drilling has been completed by resuming work with the auger machine. Both vertical and horizontal drilling options are being pursued through equipment procured by the Central Government," read a social media post from Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

The CM also said that he was en-route to Uttarkashi for an on-site inspection of the rescue workers.

"If there is no blockage, we hope there could be happy news late tonight or tomorrow," Mahmood Ahmad, a road and highways ministry official involved in the operations, told reporters at the site.

Here are the latest updates:

1. Rescue teams have so far inserted a steel pipe up to 45 metres of the escape passage. The pipe is a little under a metre wide and the trapped workers will be able to crawl out through once it is inserted.

2. Audio communication setup has been prepared for the trapped workers with the help of NDRF and SDRF. Chief Minister Dhami said that everyone was being made to talk to the doctors.

 

A number of heavy machinery are seen parked at the entrance to the site of an under-construction road tunnel that had collapsed trapping 40 workers in Silkyara in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand
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A number of heavy machinery are seen parked at the entrance to the site of an under-construction road tunnel that had collapsed trapping 40 workers in Silkyara in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand (AP)

“Keeping in mind the mental health of the workers, they are also being made to talk to a psychiatrist. The well-being of our workers is our top priority," he added in a tweet.

3. Ambulances remain on standby near the entrance. A 41-bed hospital was also readied on Wednesday at the Community Health Centre in Chinyalisaur.

4. Rescue efforts have been slow, complicated by falling debris as well as repeated breakdowns of crucial heavy-drilling machines. Last week the initially-used giant earth-boring machine had run into boulders. Drilling was put on hold for more than three days after a cracking sound in the roof alarmed rescuers.

A crane carries a part of drilling machine as rescue operation enters its final phase
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A crane carries a part of drilling machine as rescue operation enters its final phase (AFP)

5. Blasting and drilling have also begun from the far end of the unfinished tunnel in case the planned pipe rescue method does not work. This however involves excavating nearly half a kilometre. Preparations have also been made for a risky vertical shaft directly above.

6. The workers were seen alive for the first time on Tuesday as they peered into the lens of an endoscopic camera sent by rescuers. Air, food, water and electricity have been delivered to them for the past 11 days.

7. Meanwhile the National Highways Authority of India has been asked to carry out a safety audit of more than two dozen tunnels that are under construction.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 22 Nov 2023, 08:16 PM IST
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