Uttarakhand tunnel collapse: Rescuers to drill from top
The endeavor to extricate 40 workers confined within a collapsed tunnel in northern India has been broadened to involve drilling from the summit of the mountain.
A platform is in the process of being prepared for siting the drilling equipment at the location in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.
Additionally, an attempt to access the workers from the tunnel entrance will be undertaken. Thus far, three efforts to drill through the debris at the tunnel mouth have proven unsuccessful. The tunnel section collapsed following a landslide last Sunday while under construction.
Communication has been established with the trapped workers, who are currently receiving oxygen and sustenance. Describing the latest rescue initiative on Saturday, DP Baluni, the District Forest Officer of Uttarkashi, stated, “A specific point directly above the tunnel has been identified and marked for drilling.”
A digger has been deployed to create a level surface for the drilling apparatus. Major Naman Narula, the leader of the federal rescue teams, expressed optimism about completing the platform construction by Sunday.
The anticipated depth of the drilled hole is between 300 and 350 feet (90-105m). Officials indicate that if all goes according to plan, the rescue operation could span another four to five days.
Furthermore, on Saturday, tensions escalated as there was a heated confrontation between rescue officials and acquaintances of the trapped workers.
Tensions ran high as officials were challenged about the lack of progress. One man cried out: “It’s been seven days and my brother is trapped in there.”
Rescuers responded by saying they were spending sleepless nights to reach the workers. One official said the boys in the tunnel were like his own children: “I go to my bunk at night and cry as well. I can’t cry in front of you otherwise you will lose hope.”
The Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi district is part of the federal government’s ambitious highway project to improve links with famous pilgrimage spots in Uttarakhand.
The mountainous state, where several Himalayan peaks and glaciers are located, is home to some of the holiest sites for Hindus.
A nearby landslide caused heavy debris to fall on the tunnel, leading to the collapse of a section about 200m from the entrance.
A water pipeline set up for construction work is now being used to supply oxygen, food, and water to those still inside.