Uttarakhand authorities and central agencies are diligently exploring various options for the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse rescue operations. Presently, vertical drilling is in progress, and manual drilling is anticipated to commence on Monday morning.
Following the failure of the American auger for horizontal tunnel drilling, a vertical drilling machine was transported to Silkyara. The drilling work is moving swiftly, having completed around 20 meters by Sunday night.
Additionally, near the tunnel collapse site, a medical team and a hospital facility with 41 beds are prepared to minimize any risks and ensure the safety of the trapped workers. Here are the latest updates on the Uttarkashi rescue operation:
Vertical drilling into the Silkyara tunnel is progressing rapidly, with roughly 20 meters drilled already. The machine needs to excavate approximately 86 meters to create a secure passage for the trapped workers.
Manual drilling, supervised by the Indian Army, is expected to commence today to remove the metal plates of the American auger from the tunnel. This manual process is estimated to take about 18 hours.
The government has devised six rescue plans for the mission. If vertical drilling fails, agencies will consider sideways drilling and drift technology to rescue the trapped individuals.
Although no specific timeline has been provided for the completion of the final phase, the vertical drilling is ongoing at a swift pace. Speculations suggest that the mission may conclude within the next 24-36 hours.
Mahmood Ahmed, the managing director of NHIDCL, stated that if no obstacles are encountered on Thursday, November 30, the drilling process could conclude.
Rescuers are currently inserting a 700 mm pipe into the drilled section of the tunnel to create a safe passage for the trapped workers during their extraction. Additionally, a 200 mm pipe is being placed as a backup measure.