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Uttarkashi Tunnel collapse: 900-mm steel pipes to rescue 40 trapped men by Nov 14-15. What we know so far


On the third day of the ongoing rescue operation of 40 workers trapped under the debris of collapsed Uttarkashi tunnel brought some relief after contact was established with them on Tuesday. 

As per the rescue plan, the 900 mm pipes will be pushed in using the horizontal drilling equipment to create an escape for the workers, officials told news agency PTI. 

Looking at the pace of the rescue operation, the authorities have set a target of rescuing the trapped labourers by Tuesday night or Wednesday, Disaster Management Secretary Ranjit Kumar Sinha told PTI.

Rescue workers on Tuesday began the process of inserting wide steel pipes through the rubble of the collapsed under-construction tunnel on the Chardham route to bring out the 40 labourers trapped inside for two days now, officials said.

Till now, oxygen, food, and other essential items are transferred to trapped men with the help of steel pipe.

The plan was to push through 900-mm diameter sections of mild steel pipes — one after the other — into the rubble using drilling equipment and create an escape passage for the workers, who officials say are safe and being provided with oxygen, water, food packets and medicines through tubes.

‘We are safe’: Trapped worker’s message to family

After the connection was established between the trapped men and the rescue team, few victims were able to talk with their family members. 

The son of Gabbar Singh Negi, one of the trapped labourers, was allowed to speak to his father for a few seconds on Tuesday. “He said they were safe. He asked us not to worry…,” Akash Singh Negi told PTI. A local priest was also asked to perform a puja for the early and safe evacuation of the stranded workers.

A part of the tunnel being built between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway caved in on Sunday morning following a landslide. The 30-metre collapsed section is 270 metres from the mouth of the tunnel from the Silkyara side, the state emergency operation centre said in Dehradun.

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Updated: 14 Nov 2023, 06:39 PM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.