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Manual Drilling To Commence For Rescue Operations In Uttarkashi’s Silkyara Tunnel

Manual drilling efforts will soon commence to penetrate through the debris obstructing rescuers' access to the 41 trapped workers.

Edited By : Malika Sahni | Updated: Nov 25, 2023 09:58 IST
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Officials announced on Saturday that manual drilling efforts will soon begin to penetrate through the debris obstructing rescuers’ access to the 41 trapped workers in the collapsed section of the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi. The initiation of manual drilling follows the removal of the US-made heavy-duty Auger drilling machine from the pipeline designated for extracting the trapped workers.

Upon extraction of the machine, manual drillers will focus on cutting through the remaining rubble impeding the path between the rescuers and the workers. This will facilitate the insertion of the pipeline to cover the remaining distance.

The ongoing rescue operation, now in its 14th day, aims to liberate the workers confined after the tunnel collapse on November 12. Officials anticipate success in extracting the Auger driller and repositioning it approximately 22 meters back.

In an interaction with ANI, a senior official involved in the rescue operation disclosed that manual drilling will commence soon to eliminate the debris spanning about 6 to 9 meters, separating the rescuers from the trapped workers.

Highlighting the rationale behind removing the Auger from the pipeline, the official explained, “Frequent obstructions encountered during drilling with the US-made Auger necessitate its removal every few feet, resulting in substantial setbacks. We have decided to resort to manual drilling over smaller distances to circumvent such delays.”

The senior official emphasized the strategy shift towards manual drilling to resolve obstructions promptly without compromising time. The manual drilling efforts aim to cover an additional 5 meters, bridging the gap between the rescuers and the trapped workers.

Although refraining from providing a specific timeframe, officials expressed optimism about the manual drilling commencement on Saturday, hopeful for a positive outcome.

Previously, a team using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) confirmed the absence of heavy objects within the initial 5-meter range inside the tunnel. This survey, conducted by Parsan Overseas Pvt Ltd Delhi, employed GPR as a non-destructive technique for subsurface assessment.

Geophysicist and team member B Chendhoor noted their involvement post the Auger driller’s obstruction and the cave-in incident that trapped 41 laborers within the 60-meter section on the Silkyara side of the tunnel.

The trapped workers find themselves confined within a 2-kilometer section of the tunnel that offers structural integrity and safety with completed concrete work.

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First published on: Nov 25, 2023 09:58 AM IST

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