Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse: Drilling Resumed After Machine Hits Hard Substance

New Delhi: As the rescue operation to save 40 workers trapped under a collapsed tunnel on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway
approaches the sixth day, technical glitches continue to delay the drilling process. Five pipes, each with a diameter of 900 mm and a length of 6 meters, are now fully inserted into the debris. However, the presence of a hard substance within the debris temporarily halted the drilling process.

The obstruction was cleared with the help of diamond-bit machines and drilling resumed right afterwards. The obstruction was cleared with the help of diamond-bit machines and drilling resumed right afterwards. The Silkyara Control Room of the Emergency Operation Center said that as of 6 am on Friday, the advanced auger drilling machine had drilled through 25 metres of the accumulated debris within the tunnel, India Today reported.

A further 30 to 40 metres of debris needed to be cleared to reach the trapped workers. The auger machine was working at its full capacity so the workers could be rescued at the earliest, officials were quoted as saying.

Officials estimate that drilling will need to continue for approximately 45 to 60 metres to reach the trapped workers. The machine boasts an impressive penetration rate of 5 metres per hour, which is a significant increase from the previous machine’s capacity.

Professor Arnold Dix, president of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, told India Today TV that the organisation was keeping a close eye on the rescue efforts and was willing to lend all possible assistance.

“If the rescue is not affected within the next hours, I will be deploying to India to offer all assistance on behalf of all our member nations. India is one of the world’s leading tunneling nations. We are offering every assistance to India. This is an extremely serious matter, 40 lives are in great peril,” he was quoted as saying.

Consecutive days of living in a confined space with disproportionate levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide can have serious health implications, Dr Ajay Kaul, Chairman, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Hospital, Noida told NDTV.

On Thursday, Dhiren Nayak, an Odia worker from Mayurbhanj among those trapped under the debris sent a message through a pipe, confirming that all the workers are safe.

NHIDCL Tunnel Project Director Anshu Manish Khalko said, “We have reached 24 metres inside, which is a good situation. We are trying to reach the other end as soon as possible…We are airlifting another machine from Indore, it will reach here tomorrow morning…”

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