Uttarakhand disaster: Race against time to rescue those trapped in tunnel
ANI Photo

Chamoli: A desperate race is on to save the hapless labourers trapped in the 2.5 km-long Tapovan tunnel in Uttarakhand. Clearing of debris and slush continued the whole night. ‘‘About 120 metres of the stretch is now clear," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey told news agency PTI.

"The height of the accumulated slush has also reduced. ITBP personnel are waiting to enter as soon as possible," he added. The challenge, though, is clearing the slush quickly (and safely).

"There is accumulation of a large amount of debris and sludge... we pull it out by buckets but the sludge keeps coming back. Progress is slow but we are trying to speed it up," SDRF personnel told ANI.

No human contact has been made but the relief team can instinctively sense the signs of life. There are cracks in the walls of the tunnel and water is trickling down, which augurs ill for the already weakened structure. ‘‘Take measure steps,’’ is the warning that echoes in the tunnel.

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