Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Video communication established with trapped workers

New Delhi: Rescue operations continued for the tenth day on Tuesday to evacuate the 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, with authorities managing to establish video communication through a six-inch pipeline.

Efforts are being made to clear debris inside the pipeline using compressed air and water pressure, road transport and highways secretary Anurag Jain said. All medical supplies were being sent through the recently installed pipes.

Authorities are now pinning hopes on tested augur machines to reach the blocked section of the tunnel over the next two-three days.

With 800 mm pipes being inserted along with the augur machines, a hole through the debris presented the best and fastest chance to save workers trapped in the tunnel, Jain said adding that other options were also being explored and may take longer to reach the portion of tunnel where workers were trapped.

“We are moving cautiously but continuously to reach the closed section of the tunnel,” Jain said adding that the NHIDCL has resumed horizontal boring from the Silkyara end this morning.

Simultaneously, a drift tunnel is being created using manual-semi mechanized method by joint team of THDCL, army, Coal India and NHIDCL.

Jain said that with fragile geology in the region, vertical drilling would be done extensively if other options failed.

Five government agencies have been asked to look at all options to reach and rescue trapped workers in the tunnel. National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL), Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDC) and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) have been assigned one option each.

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Updated: 21 Nov 2023, 06:24 PM IST

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