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Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Manual drilling to reach workers will start once Auger removed from pipeline

Written by  Shgun S -- November 25th 2023 09:33 AM
Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Manual drilling to reach workers will start once Auger removed from pipeline

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Manual drilling to reach workers will start once Auger removed from pipeline

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Manual drilling to cut through the debris that separates rescuers from the 41 trapped workers will start soon, officials informed on Saturday.

Officials say that once the US-made, heavy-duty Auger drilling machine is removed from the pipeline through which the trapped workers are to be brought out, manual drillers will be put to work.


Manual drillers will work to cut through the remaining rubble that separates the rescuers from the workers, allowing the pipeline to be inserted through the remaining few metres.

On Saturday, the 14th day of the ongoing operation to rescue workers trapped after a section of the tunnel collapsed on November 12.

The Auger driller could be removed from the pipeline soon, officials said, adding that the heavy-duty drillers could now be moved back 22 meters.

A senior official involved in the rescue operation said that manual drilling could begin soon.

He also stated that the remaining debris, which extends up to 6 to 9 meters and stands between the rescuers and the trapped workers, will be removed manually.

Why auger is being removed from pipeline?

The senior official explained why the officials involved in the rescue operation decided to remove the Auger from the pipeline, saying, "While drilling with the US-made Auger machine, if we hit an obstruction every two to three feet, we have to remove it. And, every time we hit an obstruction, we have to roll Auger back 50 metres (up to which the pipeline has been laid). After running repairs, the machine has to be pushed back up to 50 metres, which takes about 5 to 7 hours. This is the reason why the rescue operation is taking longer than it should."

"The rescue team has now decided that the pipeline will now be extended further through manual drilling over small distances. Even if we hit an obstruction further up, the issue could be resolved manually and the pipeline could be extended further without losing out on precious time."

He went on to say that after drilling another 5 meters, the rescuers would reach the final few meters that separated them from the trapped workers.

- With inputs from agencies

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