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Uttarkashi: Rescue team enters collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel, ambulances wait outside

Earlier in the day, NHIDCL MD Mahmood Ahmed and Khulbe informed reporters that 39 meters had been drilled through the rubble, allowing the placement of three 800-mm-diameter pipes.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 Uttarkashi Updated on: November 23, 2023 0:25 IST
Uttarakhand
Image Source : PTI/FILE PHOTO People watch rescue and relief operations at the site of an under-construction road tunnel that collapsed in mountainous Uttarakhand state.

Uttarkashi: In a critical development in Uttarkashi, a rescue team has successfully entered the collapsed tunnel in Uttarakhand. Ambulances are stationed outside, poised for potential evacuations. Advancing steadily toward their objective, rescue teams have successfully drilled wide pipes up to a depth of 45 meters through the debris in the Silkyara tunnel collapse. They now face the task of drilling some additional meters to reach the 41 workers who have been trapped inside for the past 10 days, according to officials' statements on Wednesday. Elaborate healthcare arrangements have been put in place for the workers as they emerge through the pipe, ensuring immediate medical attention.

Bhaskar Khulbe, former advisor to the prime minister’s office, provided an update at the site, stating, “We are very happy to inform you that (drilling of) a length of six meters has been achieved over the past one hour. Hopefully, the next two to three hours will be comfortable in terms of assembling for the next push and attaining what all of us are waiting for. I hope that when we assemble again at 8 p.m., we have some similar good news to share with you.” Khulbe has been consistently updating the media on the rescue progress.

To reach the workers stranded since November 12, rescuers aim to drill a total depth of approximately 57 meters.

CM Dhami expresses hope

In the ongoing intensive rescue operations to free the 41 trapped workers, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami expressed optimism that all the victims will soon be safely rescued.

"The rescue operation in the Silkyara tunnel is progressing rapidly, with continuous communication with authorities. Drilling up to a depth of 45 meters has been completed by restarting the machine. Work is underway on both vertical and horizontal drilling options using equipment obtained from the central government. With the assistance of NDRF and SDRF, an audio communication setup has been prepared for the trapped workers, and individual conversations with each one are being conducted. Prioritizing the mental well-being of the workers, discussions with psychologists are also taking place. The health and well-being of the workers are our top priorities," said CM Dhami on X.

In terms of healthcare preparations, a team of 15 doctors has been deployed, and an eight-bed hospital has been set up in the control room. Multiple ambulances and a helicopter are on standby to ensure swift medical assistance, emphasising the importance of a comprehensive response as the rescue operation advances.

Also read | Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Drilling done upto 39 metre, workers likely to be rescued by tonight

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