Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: 18 Trapped Workers Brought Out On Stretchers

New Delhi: Eighteen of the 41 men trapped underground in a tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Silkyara have been rescued, news agency ANI said.

It was a 17-day ordeal by multi-agencies. In the final stretch, the banned manual “rat-hole”-mining technique was employed after high-tech machines, or augers, failed to drill through the nearly 60 metres of rock that threatened to bury the workers.

Rescue officials said it would take around five to seven minutes to extract each worker.

The extraction process is taking time to allow each worker to re-acclimatise to surface conditions, where the temperature is around 14
degrees Celsius at this time, NDTV reported.

The first three workers to be rescued were brought out on specially modified stretchers; these were lowered manually down a two-metre-wide pipe inserted into holes drilled into the hillside. Rescue officials said it will take around five to seven minutes to extract each worker.

Personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, or NDRF, had gone down the pipe first to assess the condition of the trapped men and guide them through rescue protocols. Each worker was strapped to the stretcher that was then manually pulled up through 60 metres of rock and debris.

Visuals from the rescue site showed an ambulance pulling away from the rescue site.

The ambulances – one for each worker – will be provided a ‘green corridor’ to reach emergency medical facilities set up in Chinyalisaur, which is around 30 km away.

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