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Uttarakhand tunnel rescue highlights: ‘Will review all tunnels in state to avoid such cases,’ says CM Dhami

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue highlights: All 41 workers trapped in Silkyara tunnel successfully rescued.
An ambulance carries survivors as rescue operations are underway to rescue trapped workers after a tunnel collapsed, in Uttarkashi in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, November 28, 2023.
An ambulance carries survivors as rescue operations are underway to rescue trapped workers after a tunnel collapsed, in Uttarkashi in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, November 28, 2023.

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue highlights: Rat-hole mining specialists engaged in rescuing 41 workers trapped in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi initiated manual drilling through the debris on Monday. In the latest updates, all the 41 trapped workers are successfully removed. Around 1:30 pm on Tuesday, Bansi Dhar Tiwari, the state government's information department, announced the completion of drilling. Shortly after, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami confirmed on social media that the escape pipe had been laid into the drilled passage, expressing optimism about bringing out all workers soon....Read More

However, hours later the National Disaster Management Authority’s official said that the breakthrough is not yet achieved but the rescuers are quite close.

Finally, at around 7:00pm the breakthrough was achieved and rescuers entered the collapsed tunnel.

At least 12 rat-hole mining experts were tasked with horizontally drilling through the final 10- to 12-meter stretch of debris in the collapsed section of the under-construction tunnel on the Char Dham route in Uttarakhand. The alternative drilling approach was adopted after a large auger machine became stuck on Friday. Approximately 40 per cent of the necessary 86-meter vertical drilling has been completed.

Follow all the updates here:
Nov 29, 2023 12:45 AM IST

Tunnelling expert Arnold Dix hailed for leading Uttarakhand rescue ops

The over two-week-long strenuous operation to rescue 41 workers from the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand came to an alleviating end and the internet is all praises for Australian tunnelling expert Arnold Dix for providing all the technical support on the ground. Read more

Nov 28, 2023 11:32 PM IST

‘Today is the real Diwali for us’: Workers rescued from Uttarkashi tunnel

It was no less than a “miracle” for some of the trapped workers, who were rescued from the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel on Tuesday night, as they felt death was near in the dark tunnel many times.

As they came out of the 800-900 mm pipe tunnel pushed through the debris, there was jubilation all around and many of the trapped workers told their family members that it was like Diwali for them. Read more

Nov 28, 2023 11:01 PM IST

'As soon as I entered inside, all the 41 trapped workers shouted 'NDRF ki jai ho', they were all extremely happy…': NDRF personnel narrate rescue operation

"As soon as I entered inside, all the 41 trapped workers shouted 'NDRF ki jai ho', they were all extremely happy. It was a little difficult to enter inside but we were trained very well...Three people went inside and then some SDRF rescuers also joined us. The first worker rescued was the oldest among them...It took us around 1.5 hours to rescue all the 41 workers..." one of the rescue personnel told news agency ANI.

Nov 28, 2023 10:51 PM IST

‘News of the safe exit of labour brothers in Uttarkashi is extremely gratifying’: BJP president JP Nadda

"The news of the safe exit of all our 41 labor brothers trapped in the under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand is extremely gratifying. I appreciate all the labour brothers for their patience, courage and faith and express my good wishes. Relief and I express my gratitude to all the central agencies, army, international experts and state administration teams engaged in the rescue work," BJP president JP Nadda posted on X.

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Nov 28, 2023 10:35 PM IST

41 workers rescued being brought to the Community Health Center in Chinyalisaur for primary medical treatment

The 41 workers who have been successfully rescued are being brought to the Community Health Center in Chinyalisaur for primary medical treatment.

Nov 28, 2023 10:29 PM IST

‘Relieving end to difficult operation’: Norweigian envoy hails rescue of trapped workers in Uttarakhand

Norway's Ambassador to India, May-Elin Stener, commended the rescue team in Uttarakhand after all 41 workers trapped for 16 days in a collapsed portion of an under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi were brought out safely on Tuesday evening.

The envoy congratulated the families of the trapped workers on the successful culmination of the rescue operation that continued for over two weeks.

Nov 28, 2023 10:11 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Know about Silkyara tunnel

The Silkyara Tunnel is being built by NHIDCL on Yamunotri National Highway connecting Silkyara to Barkot. This 4531 m long tunnel will shorten the road distance by 26 Km and 45 minutes of travel time. The tunnel is designed as a single tube tunnel with two lanes divided by a vertical partition wall.

"The tunnel is being constructed in extremely weak rock mass constituting meta-siltstone and phyllites. The 15 m diameter of the tunnel makes its construction technically intricate. The collapse occurred between chainage 206 m at Silkyara End and spread to chainage 260 towards Barkot End," the Border Roads Organization said.

Nov 28, 2023 9:50 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Detailed timeline of Silkyara tunnel collapse to evacuation

How the Uttarakhand tunnel rescue operation transpired in 17 days

November 12: Following a landslide at the Silkyara-Dandalgaon tunnel on the Brahmkhal-Yamunotri highway in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi, 41 labourers got trapped. A rescue operation was started to free them.

November 13: Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the site where workers were trapped and established communication with them using an oxygen supply pipe.

November 14: Efforts involved bringing in 800- and 900-millimetre steel pipes for horizontal digging using an auger machine. However, further rubble caused minor injuries to two workers, hindering progress. Supplies of essential items like food, water, and medicine were ensured for the trapped workers.

November 15: Dissatisfied with the initial drilling machine's performance, the National Handloom Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) requested a more advanced auger machine from Delhi, airlifting it to expedite the rescue process.

November 16: The new drilling machine was assembled, and installation began, after which the operation commenced past midnight.

November 17: The drilling machine progressed around 24 metres through the rubble stretch but halted when the fifth pipe encountered an obstacle. Another high-performance auger machine was flown in from Indore to aid the rescue efforts. However, operations ceased when a significant cracking sound emerged from the tunnel in the evening.

November 18: Officials from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and experts devised five evacuation plans, exploring alternative methods such as vertical drilling to rescue the workers.

November 19: Drilling activities remained suspended. Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari reviewed the rescue operation and emphasised the potential success of horizontal drilling with the auger machine.

November 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to chief minister Dhami to assess the Silkyara tunnel rescue operations and highlighted the importance of maintaining morale among rescuers.

November 21: Rescuers released the first video of trapped labourers in the Silkyara tunnel, showing them receiving supplies and communicating through the pipeline. Simultaneously, drilling began at the Balkot-end for an alternative tunnel on the Char Dham route.

November 22: Horizontal drilling progressed to about 45 metres, with around 12 metres of debris remaining. However, iron rods obstructed the auger machine's progress in the evening.

November 23: The obstruction caused by iron rods was removed, allowing for the resumption of rescue operations. Officials reported reaching the 48-meter mark but had to pause due to cracks appearing in the drilling machine's resting platform.

November 24: Drilling at the collapsed tunnel ceased as the auger machine encountered a hurdle, potentially a metal object, after resuming operations.

November 25: International tunneling expert Arnold Dix reported the auger machine used for drilling had malfunctioned, prompting consideration of alternative methods like vertical or manual drilling.

November 26: Rescuers commenced drilling into the hill above the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel, needing to penetrate 86 meters to reach the tunnel. By evening, the equipment had drilled approximately 19.5 meters. Additionally, two BRO officials sustained injuries in a collision near the Silkyara tunnel site.

November 27: A group of 12 rat-hole mining specialists arrived at the site, initiating the manual drilling and excavation process to clear the final 10- to 12-metre stretch of debris.

November 28: Following the manual drilling, rescuers inserted a pipe into the tunnel, reaching the breakthrough point at 57 meters. This enabled the evacuation of the first worker at 7.56 pm on Tuesday, with all the other trapped workers emerging in good health.

Nov 28, 2023 9:41 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Uttarakhand CM announced ₹1 lakh for each rescued worker

1 lakh to be given to each rescued worker. Baukhnag temple to be rebuilt. Tunnels under construction to be reviewed: Uttarakhand CM Dhami.

Nov 28, 2023 9:34 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: How rat-hole mining, a banned practice, saved 41 lives?

In a challenging rescue mission in the Indian Himalayas, when heavy machinery faltered, a team with expertise in the unconventional practice of "rat-hole mining" stepped in. While augur machines made progress, skilled miners adept at navigating tight spaces played a crucial role in reaching and rescuing 41 workers trapped in a tunnel. After 17 days, the successful rescue occurred through a wide pipe.

Nov 28, 2023 9:32 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: ‘Salute to every brave rescuer,’ says Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi wrote on social media platform X: All the laborers who were trapped between life and death for the last 17 days in the Silkyara Tunnel of Uttarkashi have come out safely. Salute to each and every brave person engaged in the rescue operation. You have made the prayers of the entire country successful.

Labour brothers, get well soon. Many congratulations to his family.

Nov 28, 2023 9:30 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: ‘PM Modi have instructed me to ensure medical-checkups of everyone,’ says CM Dhami

CM Pushkar Singh Dhami says, " I want to thank all the members who were part of this rescue operation...PM Modi was constantly in touch with me and was taking updates of the rescue op. He gave me the duty to rescue everyone safely anyhow.. without his support, this wouldn't have been possible. He spoke to me just now and instructed that medical check-ups of everyone must be done... and facilities must be done to take them to their homes..."

Nov 28, 2023 9:28 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: ‘Workers will be kept under medical supervision, no one is critical,’ updates CM

CM Pushkar Singh Dhami says, “They(workers) all have come out from a different environment and condition so we will do as per the advice of the doctors...first they will be kept under medical supervision, their monitoring will be done...no one is critical"

Nov 28, 2023 9:23 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: HM Shah lauds evacuation effort

It's great news for nation that all our 41 Shramik brothers trapped in tunnel in Uttarkashi have been rescued safe and sound: Amit Shah.

Nov 28, 2023 9:17 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: All came out on their own feet, says ex advisor to PMO

Former advisor of PMO Bhaskar Khulbe says "All the 41 workers have successfully come out from the tunnel happily on their own feet. What could be a happier atmosphere than this?..."

Nov 28, 2023 9:11 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik’s sand art tribute

(ANI Photo) (Sudarshan Patnaik X)
(ANI Photo) (Sudarshan Patnaik X)

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a sand sculpture by saluting the team for rescuing 41 workers from the Silkyara tunnel, at Puri Beach, on Tuesday.

Nov 28, 2023 9:08 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: President Murmu says ‘nation salutes workers resilience’

President Droupadi Murmu says: I feel relieved and happy to learn that all the workers trapped in a tunnel in Uttarakhand have been rescued. Their travails over 17 days, as the rescue effort met with obstacles, have been a testament of human endurance. The nation salutes their resilience and remains grateful to them for building critical infrastructure, even at great personal risk, far away from their homes. I congratulate the teams and all experts who have acted with incredible grit and determination to perform one of the most difficult rescue missions in history.

Nov 28, 2023 9:05 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Our prayers heard, says a family member

"It's a happy day. The entire country has been praying for them and our prayers were heard. I can't express it in words,' says a family member of a worker who has been rescued from the Silkyara tunnel, in Bihar's Arrah.

Nov 28, 2023 9:04 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: This has been all of India operation, says NDMA member

Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd.), Member, NDMA, says "...India has achieved this tremendous achievement under the leadership of our Prime Minister and the various organisations that he leads, the PMO itself, from where his Principal Secretary has been leading the efforts, who has been on the ground himself and spoken to the workers at some time also gone to each and every site of the options which were being pursued by all the disaster management authorities at that particular time...The only message which needs to be realised and communicated is, this has been all of government and all of India operation.."

Nov 28, 2023 9:00 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: PM Modi says workers courage inspiring

PM Modi writes on social media platform X: The success of the rescue operation of our labor brothers in Uttarkashi is making everyone emotional.

I want to say to the friends who were trapped in the tunnel that your courage and patience is inspiring everyone. I wish you all well and good health.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that after a long wait these friends of ours will now meet their loved ones. The patience and courage that all these families have shown in this challenging time cannot be appreciated enough.

I also salute the spirit of all the people associated with this rescue operation. His bravery and determination have given new life to our labor brothers. Everyone involved in this mission has set an amazing example of humanity and teamwork.

Nov 28, 2023 8:58 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Congress president Kharge tweets on successful evacuation

Nov 28, 2023 8:53 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Nitin Gadkari extends thanks, says safety audit will be done

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari says, "I am extremely happy that the 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel have been successfully rescued. All the agencies under the leadership of PMO have worked day and night. I want to extend my best wishes to the workers who have been rescued. I also want to thank the workers who have helped in the rescue operation. A safety audit of the tunnel will also be done now..."

Nov 28, 2023 8:49 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Patience, hard work and faith won, tweets CM Dhami

Nov 28, 2023 8:47 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: All workers rescued

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: All 41 workers trapped 17 days ago at Silkyara tunnel rescued

Nov 28, 2023 8:28 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: One of rat-miners narrates how he met trapped workers

Munna Qureshi, a rat miner from Delhi, was the first one to reach to the other side.

“I removed the last rock. I could see them. Then i went to the other side. I couldn’t They hugged us, lifted us. And thanked us for taking us out. We worked continuously in the last 24 hours. I can’t express my happiness. I have done it for my country,” he said. “The respect they (trapped workers) have given us, I can’t forget my whole life,” he said.

Nov 28, 2023 8:19 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: CM Dhami meets rescued workers. Video here

Nov 28, 2023 8:13 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: How much time would evacuation take?

Addressing a press briefing in New Delhi, NDMA Member Syed Ata Hasnain said, "It is estimated that it will take 3-5 minutes to evacuate each of the 41 persons. The entire evacuation is expected to take 3-4 hours from the Silkyara tunnel after the breakthrough is achieved."

Nov 28, 2023 8:09 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Evacuation efforts to rescue others underway

After 17 days of the marathon operation, the first worker out of 41 workers has been evacuated from the Silkyara tunnel and efforts to bring out the remaining trapped workers are underway.

Nov 28, 2023 7:59 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: First worker comes out

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Workers evacuation starts as first set of workers come out

Nov 28, 2023 7:44 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Workers evacuation starts, CM Dhami tweets

Nov 28, 2023 7:40 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: NDRF team inside, says a worker

A worker involved in the rescue operation says, "The situation is good. Four to five people from NDRF have gone inside. The process of rescuing the workers has already begun. We are taking stretchers inside to bring the trapped workers outside..."

Nov 28, 2023 7:38 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: NDRF, SDRF personnels inside site.

Nov 28, 2023 7:35 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: What happened to auger machine

The auger machine employed in Uttarakhand tunnel collapse failed to free the trapped workers as it hit metal obstructions and eventually broke down, beyond repair. Then rat-miners were brought in to do manual drilling.

Nov 28, 2023 7:33 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Pipe reached the trapped workers

The pipe has reached the place where the workers are trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel. Lights are being installed inside the pipeline so that the workers do not face any problems in the rescue operation. The rescue operation of workers may start soon.

Nov 28, 2023 7:32 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Rat-hole miners' talent, experience come in handy in rescue of 41 trapped workers at Silkyara

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said that rat-hole miners did a phenomenal job by digging 10 metres in less than 24 hours.

"Rat-hole mining may be illegal, but rat miners' talent and experience which is being used, it is their capability which is being used," he said in a media briefing here.

The National Green Tribunal in 2014 imposed a ban on coal mining using the rat-hole mining technique in Meghalaya.

Rat-hole mining involves digging of narrow tunnels, usually 3-4 feet high, for workers to enter and extract coal. The horizontal tunnels are often termed "rat holes", as each just about fits one person.

At the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, at least 12 experts have been called by Trenchless Engineering Services Pvt Ltd and Navayuga Engineers Pvt Ltd to deploy the rat-hole mining technique horizontally in the collapsed part of the main structure.

Nov 28, 2023 7:30 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: CM Dhami at tunnel rescue site

Nov 28, 2023 7:28 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Latest visuals from Silkyara tunnel

Nov 28, 2023 7:19 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: CM Dhami returns to site

CM Dhami returns to the tunnel site, SDRF personnel rush into the tunnel, ambulances lined up near the tunnel site.

Nov 28, 2023 7:16 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: What is rat-hole mining?

Rat-hole mining is a method of manual drilling, which is carried out by skilled workers, most common in Meghalaya. Narrow pits are dug into the ground, usually just wide enough for one person to fit into.

After digging the pits, the miner drops down into the holes using a rope and bamboo ladders. This method is usually used to extract coals, and is considered extremely hazardous. It is illegal in many countries due to increasing cases of miners dying from asphyxiation, lack of oxygen and hunger.

Uttarakhand government’s nodal officer Neeraj Khairwal made it clear that the men brought to the site were not rat-hole miners but people who are experts in the technique, news agency PTI reported.

Nov 28, 2023 7:08 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: CM Dhami leaves from rescue site

Nov 28, 2023 7:03 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Assam CM Himanta monitoring rescue operation

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: "Two persons from District Kokrajhar, Assam have been trapped in the Uttarakhand Tunnel. For the last 16 days, HCM Dr @himantabiswa has been constantly monitoring the well-being of the workers and the families in Assam," read a post on the official handle of the Assam CMO on Tuesday.

"Principal Secretary to HCM through DC (Kokrajhar) have been in regular contact with the respective families and authorities in Uttarakhand. We are eagerly awaiting their safe and healthy return," it added.

Nov 28, 2023 6:55 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: How much time would evacuation take?

Addressing a press briefing in New Delhi, NDMA Member Syed Ata Hasnain said, "It is estimated that it will take 3-5 minutes to evacuate each of the 41 persons. The entire evacuation is expected to take 3-4 hours from the Silkyara tunnel after the breakthrough is achieved."

Nov 28, 2023 6:33 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Makeshift hospital setup on site

Medical set-up at the Silkyara tunnel as rescue operations for the 41 workers who are trapped inside near a completion, in Uttarkashi on Tuesday.  (ANI)
Medical set-up at the Silkyara tunnel as rescue operations for the 41 workers who are trapped inside near a completion, in Uttarkashi on Tuesday. (ANI)
Nov 28, 2023 6:16 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Silkyara tunnel rescue operation keeps homestays, hotels in Uttarkashi busy

Homestays and hotels near the Silkyara tunnel site, where Char Dham pilgrims usually stay between April and September, have been hosting a different category of visitors for the last few days.

Officials from multiple agencies have been camping at these hotels after a rescue operation was launched to evacuate 41 labourers trapped in the collapsed tunnel.

Nov 28, 2023 6:01 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Anand Mahindra’s praise for Arnold Dix

Nov 28, 2023 5:43 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Just joined? A brief summary for you

Rescue operations has inched closer as the pipe has to be pushed for another two metres to reach the 41 workers who have been trapped in the Silkyara tunnel for 16 days, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said. According to the officials the evacuation operation will happen overnight.

Nov 28, 2023 5:32 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: Evacuation may take entire night, says NDMA member

Nov 28, 2023 5:01 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: MoS Gen (retd) VK Singh thanks rescue efforts

Nov 28, 2023 4:55 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: NHAI auditing all tunnels

Vishal Chauhan, member, NHAI, says," NHAI has again started the work of audit of all tunnels. We are working on this with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and one other agency."

Nov 28, 2023 4:51 PM IST

Uttarakhand tunnel rescue LIVE Updates: ‘Near breakthrough but not quite there,’ says NDMA

At the disaster site, state government's information department chief Bansi Dhar Tiwari told reporters a little after 1.30 pm that the drilling was “over”.

Less than an hour later, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the process of laying the escape pipe into the drilled passage was complete. “Soon all brother workers will be brought out,” he posted on social media.

Earlier, NHIDCL managing director Mahmood Ahmed did not immediately confirm that the drilling work was over. He told reporters that the last section of the pipe was being pushed through.

But at his 4 pm media briefing in Delhi, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata said the rescue workers were near a breakthrough, “but not quite there”.

He said the rat-hole mining experts – manually drilling through the last stretch – had reached the 58-metre point, and there were about two more metres to go.