Uttarkashi, November 22: 264 hours after the 41 workers were trapped after a tunnel collapsed at Slikyara in Uttarkashi, rescue operations continue. Officials supervising the rescue operation believe they are close to making a critical breakthrough. Additional Secretary Technical, Road and Transport Mahmood Ahmed said on Wednesday that some big news is expected in the next 24 hours as an additional 880-millimeter pipe has also been pushed 21 metres through the rubble to free 41 workers.
The official said since Tuesday night they have pushed three more pipes, reaching 40-50 metres through horizontal drilling inside the tunnel. At a press conference with the former advisor to the Prime Minister's Office Bhaskar Khulbe held at the mouth of the tunnel, Ahmad said, "An additional 800 mm pipe has also been pushed 21 metres inside the tunnel".
We are also doing horizontal drilling
The official said that around 12:45 am, "They started drilling through the auger machine" and so far, "we have pushed through three more pipes..." "As long as we reach 45-50 metres inside the tunnel, we will not be able to give you the exact time. We are also doing horizontal drilling, we have entered around 8 metres from there as well...," he said.
He added: "If there are no obstacles, some big news may be received tonight or tomorrow morning. An iron rod has also come along with the debris. It is a matter of happiness that this iron in the middle of laying the pipeline did not create any problems for us..."
41 labourers trapped for 10 days in the 2-km-built portion
A total of five agencies-- ONGC, SJVNL, RVNL, NHIDCL, and THDCL-- have been assigned specific responsibilities to evacuate the 41 labourers trapped for 10 days in the 2-km-built portion of the under-construction structure following a landslide.
The collapse occurred on November 12 during the construction of a tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot, trapping 41 labourers due to a muck fall in a 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side of the tunnel.
Rescuers managed to insert an endoscopy camera
On Tuesday morning, rescuers managed to insert an endoscopy camera into the tunnel and the first visuals captured showed the 41 workers had ample space inside the tunnel for them to move about.
Visuals of workers trapped inside for the past 10 days emerged on Tuesday morning, has given new hope to worried relatives, some of whom are camping outside the site of the collapsed tunnel structure.