Uttarkashi rescue work intensifies; vertical drilling may be over by Thursday | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Uttarkashi tunnel rescue work intensifies; vertical drilling may be over by Thursday: Top updates

ByVaishnawi Sinha
Nov 27, 2023 10:11 AM IST

The rescue operations for the Uttarakhand tunnel collapse are now gathering speed, with a backup of 5 more plans if mission hits a snag again.

The Uttarakhand and central agencies are exploring every possible outcome of the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse rescue operations, with vertical drilling currently underway and manual drilling likely to commence on Monday morning.

Vertical drilling machine in action at the Uttarakhand tunnel collapse site (AFP)(HT_PRINT)
Vertical drilling machine in action at the Uttarakhand tunnel collapse site (AFP)(HT_PRINT)

After the American auger failed to conduct the horizontal drilling of the tunnel successfully, a vertical drilling machine was flown in to Silkyara. The drilling operation is currently advancing at full speed, with 20 meters of drilling done by Sunday night.

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Further, a team of doctors and a hospital facility with 41 beds has been prepared near the tunnel collapse site to reduce any margin of error when it comes to saving the lives of the trapped workers. Here is all you need to know about the recent developments in the Uttarkashi rescue operation.

Uttarakhand tunnel collapse: Top updates

  • Vertical drilling into the Silkyara tunnel is advancing at full speed, with around 20 metres already drilled. The machine needs to dig up around 86 metres to build a safe passage for the trapped workers.
  • It is expected that manual drilling will start from today, supervised by the Indian Army, to remove the metal plates of the American auger from the tunnel. Manual drilling is expected to take around 18 hours.
  • The Centre and state government have designed a total of six rescue plans for the Uttarkashi mission. If the vertical drilling fails, agencies will resort to sideways drilling and drift technology to rescue the trapped men.
  • While no timeframe has been given on when the final phase of the rescue mission will be complete, the pace of the vertical drill remains fast. It is speculated that the mission will be over in the next 24-36 hours.
  • National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) managing director Mahmood Ahmed said the drilling process could be over if no obstacle is hit on Thursday, November 30.
  • Rescuers are now inserting a 700 mm pipe inside the drilled portion of the tunnel to build a safe passage for the trapped workers when they are being lifted out of the rubble. A 200 mm pipe is also being inserted as a backup.

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