Rescuers Break Through Silkyara Tunnel Debris, Lay Pipes To Evacuate 41 Trapped Workers

Uttarkashi: Rescuers on Tuesday successfully drilled through debris to reach 41 workers trapped for 16 days in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand and were set to pull them out to safety, according to reports.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced that work of laying pipes in the tunnel to take out the workers has been completed and soon those trapped will be taken out. “As a result of the immense grace of Baba Baukh Nag Ji, prayers of crores of countrymen and the tireless work of all the rescue teams engaged in the rescue operation, the work of laying pipes in the tunnel to take out the workers has been completed. Soon all the labourer brothers will be taken out,” Dhami posted on X in Hindi.

According to India Today, ambulances have been lined up and mattresses brought in for the rescued workers. Stretchers and a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also entered the tunnel after rescue workers broke through the 60-metre stretch of rubble in the tunnel.

This came a day after twelve rat-hole mining experts were engaged in the horizontal excavation through the last 10 or 12-metre stretch of debris of the collapsed portion of the under-construction tunnel, which is an integral part of the central government’s ambitious Char Dham all-weather road project.

A portion of the Silkyara collapsed on November 12, blocking the exit 41 workers inside.

Earlier in the day, Dhami told reporters that pipes had been inserted up to 52 metres through the rubble at Silkyara tunnel. “Earlier it was at 51 metres. It was pushed one metre further in my presence. It will be pushed two metres more to 54 metres after which one more pipe will be laid,” he said, adding that breakthrough point is 57 metres.

The first visuals of manual drilling inside the Silkyara tunnel were released by news agency ANI this morning.

Micro tunnelling expert Chris Cooper said three metres of manual drilling has been done so far and about 5-6 metres is left. “It went very well last night. We didn’t have any obstacles last night. It is looking very positive.”

Vertical drilling from above the hill was being simultaneously done earlier with around 43 metres of the 86 metres needed drilled but was stopped later with the team focussing on manual drilling.


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