Tunnel Collapse: A Week of Desperation
A motorway tunnel collapse in Uttarkashi, northern India, has left 41 workers trapped for seven days. The incident, caused by a landslide, has prompted a frantic rescue operation, raising concerns for the safety and well-being of those stuck beneath the debris.
Trapped but Safe: Conditions Inside the Tunnel
Despite the challenging circumstances, reports indicate that the trapped workers are safe, receiving essential supplies such as oxygen, water, medicine, and food through a pipe.
Nutritional support, including nuts, chickpeas, and popcorn, is sent down every two hours. Two doctors regularly check in on the trapped group to monitor their health.
Families’ Frustration and Anguish
As the rescue operation extends into its seventh day, families of the trapped workers express frustration and anger.
Desperate for updates on their loved ones, relatives from various states have spent nights near the tunnel, enduring uncertainty about the timeline for the rescue.
Challenges in the Rescue Operation
The rescue team faces challenges as they drill horizontally through the debris. A setback occurred when the augur machine used for drilling broke on Friday, necessitating the arrival of a new one.
The new plan involves simultaneous drilling from the side and above, but concerns arise about potential complications due to the intensity of the drilling.
Drilling Dilemma: Hopes and Hurdles
Rescuers have drilled around 24 meters into the rubble since Thursday, but they may need to reach 60 meters to free the trapped workers.
Experts express concerns about the drilling machine’s impact, and the operation faced a halt when a large crack was heard from within the tunnel. Discussions among experts explore alternative avenues for a successful rescue.
Geologic Survey and Future Prospects
A geological survey has identified four points on the mountain suitable for vertical drilling. Despite the suspension of drilling for now, Bhaskar Khulbe, officer on special duty for the tunnel project, suggests that it will take another four or five days to receive positive news.
Workers’ Demand for Transparency
Approximately 100 tunnel workers gather at the site, expressing frustration and demanding faster progress in the rescue operation.
Vishnu Sahu, a laborer leading the protest, accuses the rescue team of keeping workers in the dark about the pace of progress and calls for the involvement of top company officials.