A tense situation continues to unfold as dozens of workers remain trapped inside a tunnel in Uttarakhand for nearly 150 hours, with rescue operations halted due to a mechanical issue in the drilling equipment. The drilling process was abruptly stopped yesterday evening following an unexpected ‘cracking sound’ emanating from the machine. In a bid to resume operations swiftly, a second heavy-duty drill has been transported to the accident site.
Since Sunday morning, 41 workers have been marooned following a collapse within the tunnel. Although officials have assured the safety of all workers, the ongoing crisis has disrupted normalcy. Supplies of food and water are being delivered to the trapped workers through steel pipes drilled into the tunnel opening.
Families of the workers, anxiously gathered at the accident site, are grappling with waning hopes. Expressing urgent concern, a brother of one of the trapped workers emphasized the critical need for a swift rescue operation to prevent any deterioration in their health.
Medical experts have stressed the necessity of comprehensive rehabilitation for the workers once they are freed, citing potential mental and physical health repercussions resulting from prolonged confinement.
The tragic incident occurred on November 12 when a section of the under-construction Silkyara Tunnel collapsed, entwining 41 laborers in the debris. The rescue endeavors faced impediments due to falling debris during the drilling process, hindering efforts to create a passage for the men to crawl to safety.
The suspension of drilling operations on Friday evening, prompted by a distressing ‘large-scale cracking sound,’ compounded the anxiety surrounding the rescue efforts.
To bolster the rescue mission, the Air Force dispatched a second drilling machine from Indore via a C-130 Hercules military aircraft, anticipating a swift resumption of operations.