Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Experts from Norway, Thailand cave rescue roped in to save 40 trapped workers | 10 points

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse: The rescue operations to evacuate 40 workers trapped under the rubble of the collapsed tunnel on the Char Dham route in Uttarakhand has entered sixth today on Friday. A heavy-duty drilling machine began the process of digging through the debris of the collapsed tunnel and rescuing the trapped workers.

Officials said that a six-meter section of a steel pipe had been inserted into the bored passage. Another section was being welded into it.

The plan is to insert 800 mm- and 900 mm diameter pipes – one after the other — with the help of the giant drill till an escape passage is created for the workers stranded beyond the collapsed portion of the under-construction tunnel.

Here’s a 10-point guide on Uttarakhand tunnel collapse

1) Given the precarious condition of the mountains where the collapsed tunnel is located, experts from Norway and Thailand were taken into consideration and believed that around 50 meters of debris needed to be penetrated to insert the tubes for evacuation, India Today reported.

2) If a smaller drilling machine failed to do the job, IAF’s C-130 Hercules planes brought the US-made auger machine, in parts, from Delhi to an airport 30 kilometers away on Wednesday. The 25-tonne piece of equipment was installed overnight, as per PTI reports.

3) Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways V K Singh, who visited the rescue site, set “two or three days” as the “outer limit” for the new machine to get the job done.

4) Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that all tunnel projects in the state will now be reviewed, appearing more optimistic.

5) “I have been told that the new drilling machine has already penetrated five to seven meters through the debris. We hope it would soon reach the trapped workers, drilling at the rate of five to 10 meters every hour,” Dhami told the media persons.

6) The chief minister also directed the state administration to collaborate with central agencies and conduct round-the-clock rescue operations. The administration has provided telephone numbers to ensure ongoing contact and communication with the families of the workers trapped in the tunnel.

7) Navayuga Engineering Company’s spokesperson G L Nath informed that the trapped workers are safe, and being supplied with oxygen, medicines, food items, and water through pipes, PTI reported.

8) However, Dr. Ajay Agarwal, director of Internal Medicine AT Fortis Hospital in Noida said that the victims might experience panic attacks because of being trapped in closed spaces for a long.

9) The new auger machine was flown in after the first drilling machine turned out to be too slow and technical issues developed, officials said.

10) At the entrance of the tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway, workers expressed their discontent through slogans, protesting the perceived sluggishness of the operation to rescue their colleagues who had been trapped inside for over 72 hours.


(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 17 Nov 2023, 08:59 AM IST

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