By Neha Yadav
Published Nov 29, 2023

Hindustan Times
In Focus

Photo Credits: AFP

Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation highlights

All 41 workers were rescued from the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi on November 28. Here are the important highlights of the mission carried out to evacuate the stranded workers.

41 workers were reported trapped for 17 days in the under-construction Silkyara tunnel on the Char Dham route in Uttarakhand due to a partial collapse following a landslide. 

12 experts were called by Trenchless Engineering Services Pvt Ltd and Navayuga Engineers Pvt Ltd to deploy the rat-hole mining technique for rescuing the workers.

The rat-miners were brought in to do manual drilling after the auger machine broke down during the rescue operation. 

Rat-hole mining is a manual drilling process carried out by skilled engineers. It is done by digging narrow pits into the ground, wide enough for one person to fit in.

12 rat-hole mining experts drilled through the final 10 to 12 meter stretch of debris in the collapsed section of the tunnel to rescue the trapped workers.

Engineers working to rescue the trapped workers established video contact with them through a endoscopic camera.

The workers were supplied with food and fruits through a second six-inch pipe inserted into the debris. 

After 17-days-long rescue operation, all the 41 trapped workers were successfully evacuated out of the Silkyara tunnel on November 28. 

Australian tunnelling expert Arnold Dix provided all the technical support on the ground that led to the safe extraction of the trapped workers.

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced that 1 lakh will be given to each rescued worker and all the tunnels under construction will be reviewed to avert similar crisis in future.