25 Nov 2023

Uttarakhand Tunnel Rescue: Auger machine has busted; rescuers may shift to manual drilling

The auger machine utilized for drilling through the debris at the Silkyara tunnel, aimed at rescuing 41 trapped workers, has busted, as reported by international tunnelling expert Arnold Dix on Saturday.

"Auguring is no longer possible... the auger is damaged, in pieces," he informed reporters in Silkyara.

In recent days, the auger machine had been encountering repeated obstructions in the rubble. When questioned about alternative methods such as vertical or manual drilling, Dix mentioned that all options are under consideration.

"Every avenue we explore has its pros and cons. Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of both the rescuers and the trapped individuals," he emphasized.


Shift to manual drilling

Meanwhile, officials disclosed that rescuers are contemplating a shift to manual drilling at the Silkyara tunnel, where 41 laborers remain trapped.

Earlier, the drilling efforts to rescue the trapped workers were once again halted on Friday night, marking another setback in the collaborative rescue operation.

Kin of 3 more trapped Odisha workers to reach Uttarakhand

Meanwhile, family members of three more workers from Odisha who have been stuck in the under-construction tunnel are expected to arrive soon, according to an official statement. Currently, family members of two other laborers from Odisha are already present at the site in Uttarkashi district. 

N Thirumala Naik, the labor commissioner, announced that another department official would join those providing updates on the rescue efforts. Naik mentioned that while the family members of two workers are already in Uttarkashi, those of three more will travel there on Saturday morning. 

The state government is ensuring their transportation, food, and accommodation and they will stay until the rescue operation concludes. All five trapped Odisha workers are reported to be in good health, with three from Mayurbhanj district and one each from Nabarangpur and Bhadrak districts.

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