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Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Highlights: Drilling at tunnel to evacuate workers halted again

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Highlights: The rescue operation has been ongoing for the past 10 days. Today is expected to be its last day.
Digging to rescue 41 workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel is in the final stretch
Digging to rescue 41 workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel is in the final stretch

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Highlights: After more than a week's endeavour to reach the 41 workers trapped in a collapsed tunnel in Uttarakhand, the rescue and relief operation has entered its last stage after rescuers managed to place broad pipes up to a depth of 45 metres through the debris via horizontal drilling. Further drilling is underway....Read More

On Wednesday night, a senior official expressed his confidence that rescuers would reach workers and complete the operation today.

The team found steel rods embedded in the debris which caused some hindrance in the drilling process, however, the officials said they managed to remove all the pieces of steel and carry out the final process to insert the last bit of pipeline through the rubble.

Earlier on Wednesday, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel entered the tunnel, an official statement issued by Uttarakhand Chief Minister's Office said.

An ambulance is also deployed inside the tunnel and a team of doctors is also put on stand-by for health check-ups of the workers, it said.

Meanwhile, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will undertake a safety audit of all 29 under-construction tunnels across the country to ensure safety and adherence to the highest quality standards, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said on Wednesday.

Follow all the updates here:
Nov 23, 2023 10:55 PM IST

‘Proper reasoning, explanation into Uttarkashi tunnel collapse must be ascertained,’ says CPI leader D Raja

Days after an under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district collapsed where 41 workers were trapped, Communist Party of India (CPI) General Secretary D Raja said that proper reasoning and explanation for the tunnel collapse must be ascertained.

Speaking to ANI on the tunnel collapse on Thursday, Raja said, "People across the country are praying for a smooth and successful rescue operation in the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse incident. I, along with several other Indian citizens, pray that each one of them is rescued in a safe and sound manner."

"We need to rescue our people and then draw lessons as to why such a collapse takes place and what preventive measures or steps must be taken or planned. We must also look into how it could have happened and how it could have been prevented. All such questions need to be addressed in the coming days," said the CPI leader.

Nov 23, 2023 9:45 PM IST

We are only just metres away from finding passage: Arnold Dix

On Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, International Tunneling Expert, Arnold Dix said to ANI, "We are only just metres away from finding passage to have the men back. But the men are safe. The auger machine has broken down, it is being repaired and it should be back up tomorrow. The drilling machine has broken down three times..."

Nov 23, 2023 9:27 PM IST

We consider other options: Arnold Dix

Nov 23, 2023 9:21 PM IST

Drilling work halted after technical snag in the Auger drilling machine

Uttarkashi tunnel rescue | Drilling work halted after technical snag in the Auger drilling machine. Till now, rescuers have drilled up to 46.8 meters in the Silkyara tunnel

Nov 23, 2023 8:31 PM IST

Workers may be rescued in few hours or by tomorrow: NDMA

Workers trapped in Uttarakhand's Silkyara tunnel for the last 11 days are likely to be rescued in the next few hours or by tomorrow, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said. "I expect that in the next few hours or by tomorrow, we will be successful in this operation," Hasnain said in a media briefing.

Nov 23, 2023 7:50 PM IST

Auger machine drilling through rubble at Uttarkashi tunnel is experiencing 'some difficulties' again: Arnold Dix

International expert Arnold Dix says auger machine drilling through rubble at Uttarkashi tunnel is experiencing 'some difficulties' again

Nov 23, 2023 7:00 PM IST

Trapped workers 'doing yoga' amid rescue efforts

All 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel are practising yoga and other exercises while rescuers work to create an escape route, according to Jaymal Singh Negi, brother of Gabbar Singh Negi - one of the men stranded for 12 days, reported ANI.

While speaking to ANI, Jaymal Singh Negi mentioned that his brother informed him about the trapped men engaging in yoga and exercises inside the tunnel.

He also advised his brother to continue these activities.

Nov 23, 2023 6:52 PM IST

We're ready for vertical drilling, it's just a question of when the decision is made whether to do it or not: Arnold Dix

International Tunneling Expert, Arnold Dix said to ANI, "The vertical drilling is all prepared, as in all the sites prepared, the access roads prepared, everything's prepared, and decisions being taken shortly about what to do with the vertical drilling. But all of the different access routes, they affect each other. So while we're doing Augering, we have to be very careful and that includes being careful about vertical drilling. So we're ready for vertical drilling. It's just a question of when the decision is made whether to do it or not to do it..."

Nov 23, 2023 6:52 PM IST

‘Less than 2 metres drilling in over 24 hours’: Closer, but still too far reunion for families of trapped labourers

At 4.15 pm on Wednesday, Chaudhary Lal, father of Manjeet Lal of Kheri in UP, expected that he would meet his son by late evening. A few hours later, he thought Manjeet would come out by Thursday morning. At around 6 pm on Thursday, it’s been over 24 hours that he had been desperately waiting to reunite with him.

“They (rescuers) are on the verge of getting through to the other side of the debris, but I don’t know when finally, I will be able to see him (Manjeet),” he said. “I just leave the spot outside the tunnel to have my meals, otherwise I keep staring at the mouth of the tunnel. They may come out anytime soon, at least the rescuers have been saying this from yesterday,” he said.

Jaimal Singh Negi, brother of trapped foreman Gabbar Singh Negi, shares the same thoughts. “How long we should wait ... .they (rescuers) have been pushing the deadline further with each passing hour,” he said.

Nov 23, 2023 6:46 PM IST

CM Dhami speaks to trapped workers, tries to boost their morale

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami along with Union Minister of State General (Retd) VK Singh reached Silkyara in Uttarkashi on Thursday and took stock of ongoing Rescue Operation there. He spoke to the trapped workers and assured them that they would be rescued soon and tried to boost their morale.

The Chief Minister also offered his prayers at the makeshift shrine of local deity Baba Boukhnag located at the entrance of the tunnel and wished for the speedy rescue of all the workers. He also took information from international tunnel expert Prof. Arnold Dix about the technical aspects of the rescue operation going on in the tunnel.

Dhami spoke to the workers trapped inside through the audio communication setup installed in the tunnel. He asked about their well-being and tried to boost their morale. Talking to the workers, the Chief Minister said that relief and rescue work is going on war footing. He told them Prime Minister Narendra Modi is continuously monitoring the situation and is regularly taking information about the progress of the rescue operation. “The whole country stands with you. The state government also stands with you in every situation”, he told workers.

Nov 23, 2023 6:35 PM IST

Tense moments ahead of rescue of 41 stranded workers; technical snag stops work for 3rd time

Cloud over the rescue of the 41 stranded workers continues to hover as government officials differ from guaranteeing a specific date or time on the completion of the mission, while highlighting that a third technical snag had hindered the rescue mission when a girder had stopped the American auger’s drilling process yesterday night.

“No one knows the kind of obstructions that have taken place in it. We need a lot of time in these things and such was the case last night that the drilling machine identified a girder and then resources were used to bring the auger out and bring in oxyacetylene torches to cut the girder and these are time taking things and cannot happen within a given time frame. This is an arduous task,” said National Disaster Management Authority, Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain while addressing a press briefing here.

“…last night progress was made beyond 45 metres but it is come to the fore that some obstructions had stalled work and measure are being taken to mitigate these problems. It also cannot be confirmed if there won’t be any more challenges as far as rescue ops are concerned and any concrete block can delay the rescue ops but government’s efforts will not stop,” NDMA’s Hasnain said.

Nov 23, 2023 6:12 PM IST

The distance beyond is approx. 23 metres or so: NDMA

"Earlier, we were about at 22 metres as far as horizontal access was concerned from the end where the collapse had taken place. Today, we are at approximately 45 metres with all the pipes having been laid and welded. The distance beyond is approx. 23 metres or so," says Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, NDMA member.

Nov 23, 2023 5:24 PM IST

Locals bring the 'doli' of the local deity to the Silkyara tunnel

Nov 23, 2023 5:13 PM IST

'Like battle': Rescuers strive to free 41 trapped workers in Uttarkashi tunnel

Ambulances were on standby Thursday as rescuers dug through the final metres of debris separating them from 41 workers trapped in the collapsed road tunnel for nearly two weeks in Uttarakhand.

Rescue teams have specially fitted stretchers with wheels, ready to pull the exhausted men out through 57 metres (187 feet) of steel pipe -- once it is driven through the final section of the tonnes of earth, concrete and rubble blocking their escape.

Nov 23, 2023 5:06 PM IST

Temporary CM Camp office set up in Uttarkashi

In view of the Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, a temporary Chief Minister Camp office has been set up in Matali, Uttarkashi. Today morning, CM Dhami took stock of the tunnel rescue operation and also consulted with the experts present here.

Nov 23, 2023 4:53 PM IST

CM Dhami says that agencies should be engaged in relief and rescue work with mutual coordination

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami and Union Minister General VK Singh (Retd) today took a meeting to review the relief and rescue operations after taking stock of the tunnel rescue operation in Silkyara, Uttarkashi.

During this, the CM directed the officers and said that all the agencies should be engaged in relief and rescue work with mutual coordination. It should be the effort of all of us to get the trapped workers out safely as soon as possible, says CMO.

Nov 23, 2023 4:50 PM IST

We hope to get success in this operation in the next few hours, or by tomorrow: NDMA

“We hope to get success in this operation in the next few hours, or by tomorrow…,” Member of the National Disaster Management Authority, Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain said to ANI.

Nov 23, 2023 4:21 PM IST

How rescue teams plan to take out trapped workers from Uttarkashi tunnel?

With the rescue plan entering its last stage, rescuers have made a detailed plan on how to take out the 41 construction workers who have been stuck inside the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel in Uttarkashi since November 12 morning.

According to officials, once the wide pipes are pushed through the debris in the tunnel, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), wearing oxygen kits, will crawl through the pipe carrying wheel-fitted stretchers, a rope, and oxygen kits for workers. Then the doctors and paramedics will be sent inside on wheel-fitted stretchers. The doctors and the medical staff will then check the vitals of the trapped workers.

The stretcher will be tied with ropes from both sides. One by one, these workers will be taken out. Until each worker is evacuated through the pipe, a team of the NDRF will remain on the other side.

Nov 23, 2023 4:19 PM IST

We have to cater for the safety of trapped workers and rescue workforce: National Disaster Management Authority

On the progress in the Silkyara tunnel rescue operation, Member of the National Disaster Management Authority, Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain said to ANI, " This is challenging work. To keep expecting that rescue will be done in the next two hours, It puts pressure on the workforce. This is wrong. In this situation, both the trapped workers and the rescue team are at risk. We have to cater for the safety of both."

Nov 23, 2023 4:04 PM IST

Union minister General VK Singh (Retd) along with a few senior officials enter Uttarkashi's Silkyara tunnel

Nov 23, 2023 4:02 PM IST

'Stipulated time can't be decided': IG Garhwal Range on rescue work

Inspector-General (IG) of Police Garhwal Range KS Nagnyal, speaking about the ongoing rescue operation of trapped workers at Sikyara tunnel, said that the stipulated time of the rescue cannot be decided as it is a machinery work.

"The attempt at rescue is in progress and rescue is expected to be carried out very soon. It is machinery work so a stipulated time can't be decided. The rescue work will go on at night as well," said IG.

Nov 23, 2023 3:44 PM IST

The Uttarakhand government should take responsibility for how this incident happened: Saurabh Bharadwaj

On labourers trapped inside the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi, Delhi Minister and AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said to ANI, "I extend my best wishes to their family members. The Uttarakhand government should take responsibility for how this incident happened. It is a coincidence that they are all safe and luckily got a space. How was this big construction working without any soil testing and standard operating procedures?..."

Nov 23, 2023 3:43 PM IST

Trapped workers will be pulled out on wheeled stretchers: NDRF

Once the rescue pipe breaks through the debris, NDRF plans to pull out the trapped workers with the help of wheeled stretchers tied to ropes, a senior official said on Thursday.

Rescue operations to evacuate 41 workers trapped in the tunnel resumed on Thursday morning after an iron mesh that had come in the path of the auger machine drilling an escape path was removed.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General Atul Karwal, who was present at the site, said the force is fully ready for the evacuation.

Nov 23, 2023 3:32 PM IST

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse LIVE: Visuals from inside the pipeline laid inside the tunnel to rescue the 41 workers

Nov 23, 2023 3:29 PM IST

Priyanka Gandhi prays for safety of trapped workers in tunnel

In a post on X, Priyanka Gandhi said, 41 workers are trapped in the tunnel in Silkyara, Uttarkashi for 12 days. The news is that the ongoing operation to save them is moving towards success and there is hope that everyone will come out safely soon.We pray to God that all the labour brothers come out as soon as possible and reach their homes in good health. The prayers of the entire country are with them.The government is requested to provide proper compensation and help to them who risk their lives day and night to serve the nation".

Nov 23, 2023 3:14 PM IST

Our priority is to give full attention to the health of trapped workers: Former advisor to PMO

Former advisor to PMO, Bhaskar Khulbe says "...We have reached 45 metres. The hurdle that caused an issue last night, has already been removed. It takes 4 hours to push a 6-metre pipe, so to reach 18 metres, it will take us around 12 hours and it can take 3 hours more to complete the remaining work. Our priority is to give full attention to the health of the workers trapped inside. There is a very good communication link established between us and the workers. We are taking every possible assistance and expert advice required to carry out the rescue operation as early as possible."

Nov 23, 2023 2:53 PM IST

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami had a conversation with the workers trapped in the tunnel

Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami had a conversation with Gabbar Singh Negi and Saba Ahmed, the workers trapped in the tunnel under construction in Silkyara, Uttarkashi, to inquire about their well-being and also informed them about the rescue operation going on at a fast pace to get them out safely.

Nov 23, 2023 2:38 PM IST

If needed, there is a plan to bring the rescued people to AIIMS Rishikesh: Dr Narinder Kumar

Dr Narinder Kumar, Hospital Administration, AIIMS Rishikesh, said to ANI, "If needed, there is a plan to bring the rescued people to AIIMS Rishikesh. The government has made arrangements at the district hospital in Uttarkashi. They will be taken there first. We have also made arrangements here. Trauma, ICU beds have been reserved for them..."

Nov 23, 2023 2:20 PM IST

As workers will be rescued, the ambulances will be numbered, and we will be informed which ambulance will go where: District Program Officer

District Program Officer, 108 Ambulance Narendra Badoni said to ANI, "We have been given the direction that as the workers will be rescued from the Silkyara tunnel, the ambulances will be numbered, and we will be informed which ambulance will go where... Serious patients will be shifted to ALS, and normal patients will be kept in BLS. ALS is advanced life support with a cardiac monitor, and BLS is basic life support..."

Nov 23, 2023 2:14 PM IST

Uttarakhand CM interacts with rescue officials

Nov 23, 2023 1:38 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Rescue ops resume after 6-hour delay

After a long wait, theoperation to rescue the 41 workers from the collapsed tunnel resumed. Former advisor to the prime minister's office Bhaskar Khulbe, who was at the site, said an iron mesh which had come in the path of the drilling machine that is creating an escape path for the workers was removed in the morning.

This held up the drilling through the 57-metre stretch of the rubble of the collapsed section of the tunnel by six hours, dampening somewhat the previous evening's enthusiasm over an imminent rescue.

Removing the mesh in a claustrophobic environment inside the pipe was difficult and the problem was compounded by the lack of oxygen, Khulbe told reporters.

Nov 23, 2023 12:56 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: PM Modi speaks to CM Dhami; takes stock of rescue op

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday dialled Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and sought information regarding the ongoing operation to rescue 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel since November 12.

"Respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi called today and took information about the ongoing rescue operation of the workers trapped at Silkyara tunnel, Uttarkashi," CM Dhami wrote on X.

Nov 23, 2023 11:49 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Rescuers need 12-14 hours more to reach workers

Former advisor to PMO Bhaskar Khulbe said that the entire steel structure obstructing the free movement of the pipe inside has now been removed. However, the rest of the drilling will take 12 to 14 hours more to reach the targetted distance of up to 60 metres before the trapped workers are being pulled out.

Nov 23, 2023 10:56 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: PM Modi taking updates every single day, says CM Dhami

"45 metres of pipeline has been laid through auger machine. The rescue is at its final stages. There are some obstacles, but I hope that the workers are rescued as early as possible. Post-rescue preparations have been done. Ambulances and Hospitals are ready for their check-up and treatment. PM Modi is taking updates on the rescue every single day. He took the update today as well. Our experts are working day and night to rescue the workers," Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami said after reaching the rescue site.

Nov 23, 2023 10:42 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Iron mesh hurdle removed

While the rescue team was carrying out the last bit of drilling through the debris, an iron mesh came in the way of the US-based auger machine causing a small hindrance. According to officials, the iron mesh has now been removed.

"The problem which was created due to the iron mesh has been solved. The mesh has been cut by the use of the iron cutters," former advisor to the prime minister's office Bhaskar Khulbe said.

Nov 23, 2023 10:38 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Union minister VK Singh arrives at site

Union Minister General VK Singh (Retd) reached the Silkyara tunnel site where the rescue operation is underway to bring out the trapped workers.

Nov 23, 2023 10:34 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Roadblock removed, drilling restarts

The presence of steel rods on the way was one of the main hindrances in the rescue operation, which has now been removed.

"I am happy to tell you the entire steel that was obstructing the free movement of the pipe inside has now been removed. We are trying to move 6 metres ahead of the 45-metre mark that we have already reached. During drilling last night, an iron metal had come in, due to which the work was stopped. We hope that there will be no more obstructions in our way ahead," said former advisor to the Prime Minister's Office Bhaskar Khulbe.

Nov 23, 2023 10:17 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: ‘Will escort workers through green corridor’, says Uttarkashi SP; Union minister VK Singh to arrive

“Our post-rescue action plan is ready. We will take the workers through the green corridor with a police escort and make sure that the best possible treatment is being provided to them. I think they will be taken to Chinyalisaur and then if necessary to Rishikesh. Some VIP movements are going to take place. Union Minister General VK Singh (Retd) and Secretary, North will also be coming,” said Uttarkashi SP Arpan Yaduvanshi.

Nov 23, 2023 10:12 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: What's left next for rescuers to complete the operation?

  1. After drilling for almost 45 metres into the collapsed tunnel, the rescuers have to dig out an additional 13 metres of dirt and debris.
  2. After the excavation is complete, welders flown in from Delhi will enter through the hole and weld together pipes to form a safe passage for the workers to come out.
Nov 23, 2023 10:02 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: ‘Our Diwali, Chhath only after they’re rescued', says kin of trapped worker

Relatives of workers stuck inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand express hope that the effort to rescue all the 41 workers will conclude today. “Hope they will be out today. We will celebrate our Diwali, Chhath only after they are rescued safely,” a relative of one of the trapped workers told PTI.

Nov 23, 2023 9:58 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: ‘It’s like we're there, knocking at front door', says international tunnel expert Arnold Dix

International tunnel expert Arnold Dix, who is overseeing the rescue process, reached the tunnel site. “At the moment, it's like we are there at the front door and we are knocking on it. We know that the guys are there on the other side. I am going to have a look and see what is happening,” he said.

Nov 23, 2023 9:50 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: ‘Trying to overcome technical problems’, says Uttarkashi DM

Uttarkashi DM Abhishek Ruhela, who is at the collapse site, said the majority of the planned distance into the collapsed tunnel has been covered and there is little work left to cover the rest. “Our teams are continuously trying to overcome the technical problems that we are facing. We are taking advice from experts and skilled persons, some of whom are also called to the spot. It is not possible to say when will the rescue end but the work is continuously going on and it is being monitored by the state and the central govt. We are getting all the possible help from the Govt of India,” he said.

Nov 23, 2023 9:45 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: US-made drilling machine faces technical glitch

US-made auger machine used for drilling through the rubble before the pipeline was inserted stopped due to technical problems, technicians wereflown in from Delhi.

Nov 23, 2023 9:35 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Tunnel experts from Roorkee arrive at Silkyara

Chief Scientist and tunnel expert from Roorkee, RD Dwivedi reaches the Silkyara tunnel site where the rescue operation is underway to bring out the trapped workers.

RD Dwivedi says “A total of three people have come here from CIMFR Roorkee. We are tunnelling experts and we will take an update on the rescue operation going on here.”

Nov 23, 2023 9:33 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: CM Dhami at rescue site; CMO says rescue drive in final stage

The chief minister's office (CMO), in a press release, said preparations to evacuate the workers are in the final stages and the Chief Minister himself is present in Uttarkashi.

Nov 23, 2023 8:52 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: 41-bed hospital ready to treat trapped workers

As soon as they are pulled out of the miserable collapsed tunnel, the 41 workers will be given proper treatment in a makeshift hospital in a nearby community health centre in Chinyalisaur. Rescue workers said the workers would go through a detailed medical examination once they reached the 41-bed hospital.

Nov 23, 2023 8:16 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Medical equipment reaches site

Medical equipment reached the site as efforts to rescue 41 workers trapped inside theSilkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand continue.

Nov 23, 2023 8:03 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Rescue operation in final stages, govt says timelines ‘subject to change’

Although the rescue operation is expected to be completed by this morning, the government said the timelines were “subject to change due to technical glitches, the challenging Himalayan terrain, and unforeseen emergencies.”

Nov 23, 2023 7:23 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: How much digging is still left?

According to Colonel Deepak Patil who is leading the rescue efforts of the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), the work of laying a 12-meter pipeline is still left at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi to rescue 41 workers.

The steel rods found embedded in the debris have been cut and removed by personnel who joined the operation from Andaman. "The front part of the last pipe was damaged; the work of cutting it is going on. We have to join two joints, it will take 6 hours. Currently, only a 44-meter pipeline is being laid officially," he said.

Nov 23, 2023 6:54 AM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse Live: Uttarkashi DM arrives at the site

Uttarkashi DM Abhishek Ruhela arrived at the site where efforts are underway to rescue the 41 trapped workers.