Near Breakthrough But Not Yet There, 2 Metres Drilling Left; NDMA On Rescue Ops At Uttarakhand Tunnel

New Delhi: Amid reports that the rescuers have dug through the debris of the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand, Lieutenant General (Retd.) Syed Ata Hasnain, Member, NDMA, said that the team is near a breakthrough but not yet there.

“We should not debate on whether a breakthrough has been made in the rescue operations or not, at the moment 2 metre of drilling is still left. We are at 58 metres, we are hoping that after 2 metres, we can say that it has passed through. The trapped workers inside have said they can hear noises of work being done and an estimate can be made where the tunnel will pass through…,” he told a presser this afternoon.

“All safety precautions will be implemented. No premature announcements are to be made, it will be against all principles. We also have to take care of the safety and security of people who are rescuing the workers…We are not in any hurry…,” he said.

Meanwhile, preparations for airlift underway at Chinyalisaur helipad in case of a medical emergency, following the rescue of 41 workers trapped inside the tunnel. “Chinook helicopter is present at Chinyalisaur airstrip…The last time to fly the Chinook helicopter is 4.30 pm. We will not fly it during the night. Since there is a delay, the workers will be brought the next morning…,” the NDMA member said.

He further said that 30-bed facility is ready in the District Hospital and 10-bed facility is also ready at the site. “Chinook can fly in the night but the weather is not favourable for it and there is no urgency as such. If there is urgency, workers can be brought to Rishikesh in 1 or 2 ambulances…,” he added.

He also informed that it will take 3-5 minutes to pull out each trapped worker and around 3-4 hours to rescue all 42 worker trapped in the collapsed  tunnel. “It is estimated that it will take 3-5 minutes to evacuate each of the 41 persons. The entire evacuation is expected to take 3-4 hours. Three teams of NDRF will go inside the tunnel to organise the evacuation. SDRF will provide support. Paramedics will also go inside the tunnel at the time of evacuation,” he added.

Rishikesh AIIMS have been put on alert mode for medical services. A 41-bed ward including trauma centre is ready along with a team of cardiac and psychiatric specialist doctors. “Three helicopters can be landed simultaneously at the helipad of Rishikesh AIIMS. Workers in critical condition will be airlifted to Rishikesh AIIMS,” the ANI reported.

Notably, 21 rat-hole mining experts are engaged in manual drilling and excavation horizontally through the stretch of debris of the collapsed portion of the under-construction tunnel on the Char Dham route since Monday.

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