Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse


Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse-The workers continued to remain trapped inside the partially collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand for the 14th day as the US-made auger machine, which is drilling through the debris to create an escape passage, stopped again on Friday evening after hitting another obstacle.

Timeline of the disaster and the rescue efforts-Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse

November 12, 2023

The laborers get trapped as portions of the Silkyara-Dandalgaon under-construction tunnel on the Brahmkhal-Yamunotri highway collapse following a landslide at around 5.30 am on the day of Diwali. Rescue efforts are launched by the district administration and arrangements are made to supply oxygen, electricity, and eatables to the trapped laborers through air-compressed pipes.

Multiple agencies, including the NDRF, SDRF, BRO, project executing agency NHIDCL, and ITBP, joined the rescue efforts.

uttarkashi tunnel collapse

November 13, 2023

Contact is established with the trapped workers through a pipe meant to supply oxygen to them and they are reported to be safe. Rescue efforts continue as CM Pushkar Dhami visits the site.

Fresh rubble kept falling from above and the debris accumulated in an area of around 30 meters spread to 60 meters, further complicating the rescue mission.

November 14, 2023

Steel pipes of 800- and 900-millimeter diameter are brought to the tunnel site to be inserted through the rubble with the help of an auger machine for horizontal digging.

However, when more rubble falls from the cavity created by the cave-in, two laborers sustain minor injuries. The trapped workers are supplied food, water, oxygen, electricity, and medicines as some of them complain of nausea and headache.

November 15, 2023

Dissatisfied with the 1st drilling machine, the NHIDCL asks for a state-of-the-art auger machine, which is airlifted from Delhi to speed up the operation.

November 16, 2023

The drilling machine is assembled and installed. It starts working past midnight.

Also, Read Uttarakhand to implement Uniform Civil Code

November 17, 2023

Working overnight, the machine drills about 24 meters through the 57-meter stretch rubble stretch by the afternoon, and four MS pipes are inserted. The process comes to a halt when the fifth pipe hits an obstacle. Yet another high-performance auger machine is flown down from Indore to assist in the rescue efforts.

In the evening, the NHIDCL, during the positioning of the fifth pipe, reported that a big cracking sound was heard in the tunnel. An expert warns about the possibility of further collapse in the vicinity and the operation is suspended immediately.

November 18, 2023

Drilling does not resume on Saturday as experts feel that the vibrations created by the diesel-driven 1,750-horse power American auger inside the tunnel might cause more debris to collapse, posing a risk to the lives of the rescue personnel.

Alternative options are explored by a team of officials from the PMO and experts who decide to work on five evacuation plans simultaneously, including vertical drilling through the top of the tunnel to rescue the trapped laborers.

November 19, 2023

Drilling remains suspended while Union minister Nitin Gadkari who reviews the rescue operation says boring horizontally with the huge auger machine appeared to be the best bet. He anticipates a breakthrough within two and a half days.

November 20, 2023

PM Narendra Modi speaks to Dhami over the phone to take stock of the rescue operations at the Silkyara tunnel and stresses the need to keep their morale up. Rescuers push through a six-inch-wide pipeline through the rubble, a breakthrough that helps them supply larger quantities of food and other essentials to trapped workers.

However, the team is yet to resume the horizontal drilling that got suspended after a boulder appeared to block the progress of the heavy-duty auger machine.

November 21, 2023

Rescuers released the first video of the laborers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel. The workers, wearing yellow and white helmets, are seen receiving food items sent to them through the pipeline and talking to each other. Two blasts are set off at the Balkot end of the under-construction tunnel on the Char Dham route, beginning the process of drilling another tunnel – an alternative to the Silkyara-end option. However, this approach could take up to 40 days, experts said.

The NHIDCL resumes overnight the horizontal boring operation from the Silkyara end that involves an auger machine.

November 22, 2023

Ambulances are kept on standby and a special ward at a local health centre is made ready. Horizontal drilling of 800 mm diameter steel pipes reaches about 45 meters with only 12 meters remaining of the around 57-meter debris stretch. However, in a late evening development, the drilling hits a hurdle when some iron rods come in the way of the auger machine.

November 23, 2023

The iron obstruction that had caused a delay of six hours in the drilling was removed in the morning. Rescue operations have resumed. State government’s nodal officer tells reporters that drilling had progressed by 1.8 metres after Wednesday night’s setback. Officials say the 48-metre point has been reached by the drill. But boring through the rubble had to be put on hold again apparently after cracks appeared in the platform on which the drilling machine rests.

November 24, 2023

The 25-tonne machine was restarted on Friday evening and drilling is resumed. However, a fresh hurdle is faced as the boring continues for about an hour before the drill hits a metal girder. The rescue operation is halted again.

November 25, 2023

A senior official who is part of the rescue operation said,” “As soon as after the auger drilling machine is brought out of the tunnel pipeline, manual drilling work could be started in the last 6-9 meters,”

Refusing to give the time frame of the rescue operation, the official said that the new drilling process today might bring good results.

However, according to sources, the situation is getting tougher with every passing hour.

“The auger machine has stuck inside the pipe. At least 30 meters of the machine has been stuck inside the pipe. Some part of it has been taken out manually… Around 21.5 meters of the auger drill has been removed from the 800 mm diameter pipe. It is expected that the entire operation of removing the drill will happen by tonight. Manual tunneling teams have reached the spot. Once the entire blade is removed then the manual drilling process will start,”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *