Uttarkashi: Rescue operations at the Uttarkashi tunnel faced a temporary setback on Friday when debris fell towards the drilling machine during the insertion of the 5th tube, further delaying efforts to free 40 trapped workers.
The American auger machine encountered technical glitches, limiting progress to 24 meters. The challenging terrain and the need to call in drilling machines from across the country added to the complexities.
Despite significant overnight progress, the presence of a hard substance within the debris temporarily halted drilling, but it resumed after clearance. The advanced auger drilling machine had penetrated 25 meters of debris by 6 AM on Friday, with 30 to 40 more meters to clear. Additional machines were being airlifted to expedite the rescue operation.
Disaster management officials aim to complete drilling by Friday night, creating an escape tunnel using welded pipes. Continuous communication with trapped workers is being maintained, and they are receiving essential supplies through pipes.
Rescue efforts, now in the sixth day, involve international experts and collaboration with the Indian Air Force. The International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association has offered assistance, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation.
The situation remains critical as rescue teams work against time to reach the trapped workers, with international support and advanced equipment boosting the operation’s efficiency.