Heavy drilling machine put to work as 40 stuck for 100+ hours

The rescue operations to evacuate the 40 construction workers trapped 260 metres inside the Silkyara-Barkot under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi have been intensified on the sixth day on Friday.

The workers have been trapped since Sunday morning when a part of the tunnel collapsed following a landslide around 5:30am.

Rescue and relief operations are underway after a portion of an under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand collapsed on Sunday night.

A heavy-duty state-of-the-art performance auger drilling machine – brought from New Delhi on an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J aircraft – was installed on Thursday, raising hopes for the rescue of 40 workers trapped inside the tunnel.

According to reports, the officials have bored through 21 meters of rubble of the collapsed tunnel so far till Friday morning.

The workers need to drill up to 60 metres to insert 800 mm and 900 mm diameter pipes – one after the other – with the help of a giant drill machine till an escape passage is created for the trapped workers.

Notably, the stretch where the debris is accumulated begins 270 meters from the mouth of the tunnel at the Silkyara side.

Officials said that the trapped workers are safe and are being supplied with oxygen, medicines, food items, and water through pipes.

Constant communication is also being maintained with them to keep up their morale, Uttarkashi district magistrate Abhishek Ruhela said.