Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation: Expanded medical facility inside tunnel, Chinook helicopter ready at Chinyalisaur airstrip for worker airlift

Several ambulances enter the Silkyara tunnel. NDRF, SDRF and several other agencies continue to be at the spot.

Annesha Barua
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Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation:  Workers welcomed with laid exit pipe and garlands

Uttarkashi tunnel rescue: Specialists skilled in rat-hole mining have been tirelessly working to rescue 41 workers who found themselves trapped within the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. Their painstaking efforts took a significant stride forward on Monday as they commenced manual drilling through the debris. In a recent development, the manual horizontal drilling milestone has been reached, signaling imminent liberation for the workers.


The scene near the collapsed section of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel in the Uttarkashi district has been a hub of activity, with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and other rescue teams converging on November 28, 2023, to strategise and execute the rescue operation.


By 1:30 pm on Tuesday, Bansi Dhar Tiwari, representing the state government's information department, declared the successful conclusion of the drilling initiative. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami echoed this announcement on social media, confirming the installation of an exit pipe into the newly created passage, instilling hope for the imminent release of all the trapped workers.

Tasked with the crucial drilling operation, a team of 12 rat-hole mining experts meticulously carved through the final 10- to 12-meter stretch of debris in the collapsed tunnel section along the Char Dham route in Uttarakhand. This unconventional approach became necessary after a sizable auger machine encountered an obstruction on Friday. Progress stands at approximately 40% completion of the essential 86-meter vertical drilling.

In anticipation of the workers' liberation, a provisional medical facility has been established within the tunnel. Post-rescue, the workers will undergo comprehensive health examinations at this setup. Additionally, the health department has readied eight beds in case of any medical emergencies, backed by a dedicated team of physicians and experts on standby.

The families of the trapped workers eagerly await their loved ones' safe return from the depths of the Silkyara tunnel. Expressing their relief and anticipation, they share, "We are overjoyed at the prospect of their imminent rescue. We're preparing a warm welcome for them. We assured them that the rescue operation was underway, and soon they'll be home."

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