The Director General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Atul Karwal, has stated that the rescue operation aiming to save 41 workers trapped inside a tunnel in Uttarkashi's Silkyara could conclude by Thursday night, assuming no further obstacles arise.
Karwal also reported that the drilling for the initial six-meter pipeline is finished, with welding currently underway for the subsequent pipeline that will penetrate the debris to reach the trapped workers. He further noted that the surrounding mountainous terrain is posing difficulties for the rescue operations.
After a late-night hitch, the machine drilling the escape passage through the rubble hit a hard obstacle, entered the final stretch early morning today,
The drilling of 800 mm diameter steel pipes was halted for some hours overnight after an iron mesh came in the way of the auger machine, officials said. The last pipe to prepare the escape passage for the trapped workers was being pushed in through the rubble.
All arrangements have been made to provide immediate medical care to the 41 trapped workers after they are evacuated. A 41-bed separate ward has been readied at the Community Health Centre in Chinyalisaur for Silkyara tunnel evacuees and 41 ambulances wait outside the tunnel to rush them there as soon as they crawl out.
Earlier, officials said the American-made auger machine had to drill through a 57-metre stretch of debris to reach the 41 workers, who were trapped when a portion of the under-construction tunnel collapsed 11 days ago.
As the machine drills through, six-meter sections of steel pipes, just under a meter wide, are pushed into the escape passage. Once the pipeway reaches the other end, the trapped workers are expected to crawl out.
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