On Sunday, November 12, a landslide near the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand left 40 workers trapped inside. Efforts to rescue them continued for the fifth day with an auger drill machine being installed to expedite the process of digging through the debris and reaching the trapped workers.
The workers have been trapped inside the tunnel for five days now.
Continuous surveillance ensured the well-being of the trapped workers through ongoing communication.
Considering the precarious mountainous conditions surrounding the tunnel, consultations with specialists from Norway and Thailand are ongoing. The task involves piercing through approximately 50 meters of debris to install 800 mm evacuation tubes.
Union Minister General (retired) VK Singh is scheduled to visit the tunnel at 10:50 am on Thursday, November 16, to oversee the rescue operations.
Rescue teams are working to install a 900 mm hum pipe through the debris to extract the trapped workers.
Laborers at the tunnel entrance along the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway expressed dissatisfaction and protested against the perceived slow pace of the rescue operation, which has confined their fellow workers for over 96 hours.
#WATCH | Uttarkashi tunnel accident: Latest visuals from the spot where the rescue operation is underway for 5th day to rescue the trapped labourers— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) November 16, 2023
A part of the under construction Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi district collapsed on Sunday trapping 40 labourers. pic.twitter.com/BGr2z3kom7
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has been closely monitoring relief and rescue efforts, urging the state administration to coordinate with central agencies for continuous rescue operations. The Chief Minister's Office has also facilitated constant contact with the families of the trapped workers.
Indian American Congressman Shri Thanedar has appealed to the United States Agency for International Development to offer immediate assistance in the ongoing rescue efforts.
The landslide near the Silkyara tunnel occurred around 5 am, causing a section about 200 meters from the opening to collapse. Workers engaged in a highway project were inside the tunnel when the incident took place. The collapse happened 270 meters below the surface, leaving the workers stranded in the 2,340-meter-deep tunnel.
As the rescue operation continues, Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand experienced a 3.1 magnitude earthquake at approximately 2:02 am on Thursday, November 16, at a depth of 5 km, as reported by the National Center for Seismology.