Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Rescue operation halted after snag, cracking sound | Top 10 updates

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Rescuers working round the clock to reach 40 workers trapped in a collapsed highway tunnel in Uttarakhand‘s Uttarkashi district on Friday temporarily suspended the rescue operation after hearing a sudden “cracking sound” and the drilling machine developed a snag.

The state-run National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) stated that a “large-scale cracking sound” was heard during efforts to restart the drilling machine. The sound “created a panic situation in the tunnel and the team working. 

Similar sounds have been noted previously and there was a “strong possibility of further collapse”, the report said, adding that a meeting to discuss further steps in the rescue effort has been called.

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Here’s a 10-point guide on this big story

1) A C-17 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force has been deployed to airlift almost 22 tonnes of critical equipment from Indore to Dehradun, officials said on Friday.

2) Rescue workers have drilled through up to 24 meters of rubble in the Silkyara tunnel till Friday afternoon, inching closer to the 40 laborers trapped inside for five days.

3) The trapped workers have light, receive oxygen, food, water, and medicines via a pipe, and can communicate via walkie-talkie. Their families are waiting anxiously, some camped outside.

4) An official of the Odisha government’s labor department has spoken to workers from the state trapped after the collapse of an under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi. Five laborers from Odisha are among the 40 workers who have been trapped there.

5) The labor department, in an official statement, said that two officials have been sent to Uttarkashi, who is coordinating with the local administration and line agencies for the safe rescue of the workers.

6) The workers from Odisha have been identified as Tapan Mandal and Bhagban Batra from Nabarangpur, and Biseswar Nayak, Dhiren, and Raju Nayak from Mayurbhanj district.

7) For the rescue operation, the plan is to insert six-meter sections of steel pipes one after the other as the machine drills through the rubble. Each pipe has a diameter of 800 or 900 mm. The fifth pipe was being inserted Friday afternoon.

8) Relatives of the trapped workers and officials from their home states have been coming to the rescue site and allowed to speak to them through a pipe that runs through the rubble.

9) The American auger machine was flown in from Delhi on Wednesday on IAF’s Super Hercules planes in separate parts and later assembled at the site. It replaced the earlier drilling equipment as that had the capacity to penetrate only up to 45 meters of rubble, Adesh Jain, an expert involved in the operation, said.

10) The round-the-clock rescue work is being carried out by 165 personnel from multiple agencies, including the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, Border Roads Organisation, and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the State Emergency Operation Centre said.


(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 18 Nov 2023, 09:49 AM IST

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