Breakthrough in Uttarakhand tunnel rescue ops, ambulances on stand-by; NDRF team to go first
The rescue team drilled through rocks and debris on Tuesday and were set to pull the trapped workers out of tunnel one by one to safety.
The collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand has finally been breached, an official said on Tuesday, bringing hope to the families of those trapped inside. Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami also confirmed in a social media post that the “work of laying pipes in the tunnel to take out the workers has been completed”.
“As a result of the immense grace of Baba Baukh Nag Ji, prayers of crores of countrymen and the tireless work of all the rescue teams engaged in the rescue operation, the work of laying pipes in the tunnel to take out the workers has been completed. Soon all the labourer brothers will be taken out,” Dhami said on X in Hindi.
A senior official present at the site earlier said the drilling operation has been successfully completed, reported PTI. Asked by reporters, NHIDCL managing director Mahmood Ahmed did not immediately confirm the development but said the last section of the escape pipe was being pushed through the drilled passage.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel, equipped with ropes, lights, and stretchers, were seen at the entrance of the Silkyara tunnel, ready to reach those trapped inside.
As part of the intricate rescue plan, a team of NDRF personnel, equipped with essential tools, will first traverse to the other side of the collapsed tunnel through a pipeline. Once on the opposite side, they will communicate with the trapped individuals to assess their condition and provide necessary instructions for a safe evacuation.
To ensure a swift and organized response, all ambulances have been placed on standby and a green corridor has been established, streamlining the path for ambulances to swiftly transport the rescued individuals to medical facilities.
The process of pulling the trapped workers out, one at a time on wheeled stretchers through a pipe 90 cm (3 feet) wide, would take a couple of hours, reported Reuters quoting officials.
The tunnel is part of the $1.5 billion Char Dham highway, one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's most ambitious projects, aimed at connecting four Hindu pilgrimage sites through an 890- km network of roads.
Authorities have not said what caused the cave-in but the region is prone to landslides, earthquakes and floods.
(With inputs from agencies)
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