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Silkyara tunnel collapse: 41 trapped men await rescue as manual drilling becomes vital

The setback emerged on Friday as drilling efforts in the Silkyara tunnel faced obstacles, and Saturday revealed the extent of damage to the auger machine, labeled as "busted" by international tunneling expert Arnold Dix.

Silkyara tunnel collapse: 41 trapped men await rescue as manual drilling becomes vital AJR
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First Published Nov 26, 2023, 10:09 AM IST

Amid the ongoing rescue operation for 41 trapped workers in Uttarakhand's collapsed Silkyara tunnel, a significant turn in the efforts is anticipated as manual drilling is set to commence on Sunday. The challenging task involves manually cutting down the damaged blades of the auger machine that faced complications during the drilling process on Friday. The completion of this preparatory phase is expected today.

The setback emerged on Friday as drilling efforts in the Silkyara tunnel faced obstacles, and Saturday revealed the extent of damage to the auger machine, labeled as "busted" by international tunneling expert Arnold Dix. Once the machine is retrieved from the escape pipe, the manual drilling, spanning roughly 10 meters, will initiate as part of the rescue strategy.

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Concerns from families of the trapped workers have heightened, expressing anxiety over the rescue pace and the workers' emotional state, citing growing frustration and impatience among them.

The rescue operation commenced on November 12 following a tunnel collapse due to a landslide on Uttarakhand's Char Dham route, leaving the workers stranded inside without an exit.

Within the confined two-kilometer stretch of the tunnel, the authorities are using a six-inch wide pipe to supply essential items like food, medicine, and other necessities to the trapped workers.

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Acknowledging the stress and uncertainty faced by the trapped workers, authorities have provided them with mobile phones equipped with video games and classic board games like ludo, snakes and ladders, aiming to alleviate their anxiety during this challenging time.

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