In Uttarakhand on Monday evening, after nine days of efforts, rescuers successfully pushed a six-inch diameter pipe through the debris inside the tunnel. This wider pipe not only facilitates the supply of more oxygen but also allowed for the delivery of the workers’ first hot meal in days.

Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse: First Video of the Trapped Workers

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The rescue team used an endoscopic camera attached to a flexible cable, providing the first visual confirmation of the workers’ condition.

In a released video, the trapped men, many wearing safety helmets and jackets, were seen responding to instructions, smiling, and waving, bringing relief to their families anxiously awaiting news.

A four-inch diameter pipe had been the lifeline for the trapped workers, enabling the delivery of snacks and dry fruits, along with a supply of oxygen.

However, the narrowness of the pipe posed challenges in providing sustenance. With the introduction of the wider pipe, rescuers have managed to send in not only hot meals but also essential items such as medicines, mobile phones.

The use of two-way radios was evident in the video, showcasing the communication link established with the workers.

A 1.2-meter-wide hole will be drilled vertically from above the tunnel, covering a distance of 90 meters to reach the trapped workers.

This task is assigned to the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL), and drilling machines are being mobilized from various locations.

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The National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is working on horizontal boring using an augur machine, aiming to drive a steel pipe through the debris. Challenges were faced earlier, but the operation is set to resume from the Silkyara side of the tunnel.

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), leveraging its expertise in deep drilling, is tasked with creating a vertical tunnel at the 2.3-km mark.

This tunnel, nearly 325 meters deep, involves the use of specialized machines brought from the US, Mumbai, and Ghaziabad.

Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited plans to construct a 483-meter-long, narrower tunnel from the Barkot end using conventional drill and blast methods.

Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) is conducting micro-drilling from the left of the tunnel, creating a 1.2-meter-wide horizontal tunnel, approximately 168 meters long, to meet the existing tunnel at the 300-meter mark from the Silkyara side.

The rescue efforts have encountered challenges ranging from breakdowns of heavy drilling machines to the complexities of drilling through the debris.

The rough terrain and unstable conditions have further slowed progress, necessitating the involvement of various agencies and their distinct approaches.

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With the insertion of the new six-inch pipeline, communication with the trapped workers has become more effective. Family members expressed relief as they could hear their loved ones more clearly through the pipeline.

The workers, confined in the tunnel, have been actively talking to each other, maintaining morale amid the circumstances.

The plight of the trapped workers has emotions not only among their families but also across the nation. The resilience of these individuals, coupled with the efforts of the rescue teams, has become a testament to human determination in the face of adversity.

The families, anxiously waiting for the safe return of their loved ones, have been actively involved in monitoring the progress of the rescue operations.

The Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, visited the site, assuring the families that their concerns would be addressed, and the rescue mission remains the priority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been regularly updated on the situation, addressing the urgency of the rescue operation.

The incident has prompted discussions on safety measures in construction projects and the need for protocols to prevent such disasters.

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