Uttarkashi tunnel collapse: Oxygen supply continues, efforts underway to rescue trapped workers with steel pipe

As the rescue operation is underway after a portion of a tunnel under construction between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri national highway collapsed in the early hours of Sunday, National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) said water, food, oxygen and electricity are available with the workers trapped inside the runnel.

NHIDCL said that while removal of loose muck continues along with shotcreting (concrete spraying) inside the tunnel, the strategy is to push inside a steel pipe of 900 mm diameter with the help of a hydraulic jack to evacuate the trapped workers.

A mild steel pipe is being brought from Haridwar with the help of the state government, said the company.

Anshu Manish Khalko, Director, NHIDCL said: “The situation is better now. The workers are safe. We are providing food and water. There are nearly 40 people inside. We are trying our best.”

SDRF Commandant Manikant Mishra reviewed the relief and rescue operations ongoing at Silkyara tunnel.


“Rescue operation is underway, all the agencies and technical experts have arrived here. Out of the 60 metres of debris, over 20 metres of debris has been cleared. We expect to evacuate the 40 people trapped inside by the night tomorrow. All basic amenities including oxygen, food and water are being provided to them through pipes. Family members of the people trapped have also been contacted,” said SP Arpan Yaduvanshi.


Ranjeet Kumar Sinha, Uttarakhand state disaster management secretary, said: “…Since there was soft rock, it collapsed due to pressure. Treatment for the same will be done later currently our primary responsibility is to rescue people safely…We expect people to be rescued safely by tomorrow or the day after…There is enough oxygen inside the tunnel for people to survive for at least 5-6 days. We are able to talk to the people trapped through walkie-talkies…”

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday visited the site for the ground inspection of a landslide in the tunnel.

During the inspection, Dhami took stock of the ongoing rescue and relief operations to rescue the workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel.

Dhami also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has enquired about the incident and has assured of all possible assistance.

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