India tunnel collapse: Rescue operation at critical stage; workers expected to be pulled out soon

As of last midnight, rescue teams said that about 10 metres of debris separated them from the trapped workers

By ANI

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Ambulances are parked outside a tunnel where workers are trapped after the tunnel collapsed in Uttarkashi in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, November 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters
Ambulances are parked outside a tunnel where workers are trapped after the tunnel collapsed in Uttarkashi in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, November 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Published: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 7:57 AM

Medical equipment reached the site as efforts to rescue 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, India, continued to a 12th day on Thursday.

According to officials, the workers are expected to be pulled out from the collapsed tunnel today.

The workers have been trapped since November 12, when the under-construction tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot got blocked due to debris falling in a 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side.

The operation is in its critical phase on Thursday morning, with ambulances on standby. As of midnight, rescue teams said that about 10 metres of debris separated them from the trapped workers.

According to rescue teams, the operation involved drilling through the debris to push wide pipes for the trapped workers to walk out through. The auger machine, which drills through about 3 metres of debris in an hour, had earlier hit a metal obstruction.

A 41-bed hospital is ready at the Community Health Centre in Chinyalisaur for medical examination and care of trapped workers after they are evacuated.

Rescue personnel said the workers would go through a detailed medical examination once they reached the hospital.

Earlier in the night, Indian National Disaster Rescue Force (NDRF) personnel also carried oxygen cylinders at Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel to assist in the ongoing rescue operation.

The area of entrapment, measuring 8.5 metres in height and 2 kilometres in length, is the built-up portion of the tunnel, offering safety to the labourers with available electricity and water supply.

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