Rescue operations enter final stretch at Silkyara tunnel, last pipe being pushed in
Uttarkashi, Nov 23 (PTI) Rescue operations at Silkyara tunnel entered their final stretch early Thursday with the last pipe to prepare an escape passage for the trapped workers being pushed in through the rubble.
All arrangements have been made to provide immediate medical care to the 41 trapped workers after they are evacuated, officials said.
The last pipe is being laid, an electrician working at the site said.
The drilling of 800 mm diameter steel pipes through the rubble had hit a minor hurdle late Wednesday when some iron rods came in the way of the auger machine.
A 41-bed separate ward has been readied at the Community Health Centre in Chinyalisaur for Silkyara tunnel evacuees and 41 ambulances wait outside the tunnel to rush them there as soon as they crawl out.
Till 6 pm on Wednesday, up to 44 metres of the escape pipe had been inserted into the debris, an official update said in Delhi.
Earlier, officials said the American-made auger machine had to drill through a 57-metre stretch of debris to reach the 41 workers, who were trapped when a portion of the under-construction tunnel collapsed 11 days ago.
Drilling from the Silkyara end was put on hold Friday afternoon when the auger machine encountered a hard obstacle around the 22-metre mark, creating vibrations in the tunnel that caused safety concerns.
The drilling resumed around midnight Tuesday.
As the machine drills through, six-metre sections of steel pipes, just under a metre wide, are pushed into the escape passage. Once the pipeway reaches the other end, the trapped workers are expected to crawl out. PTI ALM COR RHL
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