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Rescue Operation At Uttarkashi Tunnel Again Faces Halt. 41 Workers’ Fate Remains Uncertain

The rescue efforts in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, encountered another obstacle on Friday night that forced agencies assigned to the evacuation to temporarily stop digging, leaving the fate of the 41 workers trapped within a collapsed tunnel unknown.

The American auger equipment struck a metal grinder during the last stages of the rescue effort, delaying the timetable for freeing the trapped personnel. As a result, the NDRF, SDRF, ITB, and other federal and state organisations are closely monitoring the Uttarkashi rescue site.

On Friday morning, the American auger resumed its horizontal drilling, marking the start of the last stage of the rescue operation for the 41 men who were trapped. But in the evening, there was a problem with the operation.

The drilling was stopped when the auger struck a metal grinder that was hidden in the debris. When the drilling will start up again and the personnel will be hauled out of the collapsed tunnel is yet unknown.

According to agencies, the last part of the rescue can be finished in 5–6 hours if drilling is restarted, with only 10–12 metres left.

Following several mishaps that necessitated the American auger machine’s continuous repairs, the rescuers are investigating the possibility of using a manual drilling technique. But the process can slow down as a result of this.

Once the drilling is finished, the NDRF will enter the tunnel with a stretcher that has wheels attached in order to roll out the rescued workers.

According to agencies, there is “no timeline yet” for the completion of the last stage of the rescue efforts, meaning that the workers might spend an additional day underground.

After numerous difficulties with the tunnel’s horizontal drilling, rescuers also intend to start the vertical drilling process. In the last stage, only 10% of the residual amount needs to be removed.

If rescuers use manual drilling techniques, it is anticipated that the task will take an additional 18 to 24 hours, as the government and authorities have not yet offered a set timeframe.

Since Diwali Day on November 12, 41 workers have been trapped in the Silkyara tunnel’s debris, and on Day 14, rescue efforts in Uttarkashi were once again suspended. When the rescue operations would start up again has not yet been disclosed by the agencies.

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