The first visuals of workers stuck inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi surfaced on Tuesday morning.
Rescuers on Monday pushed a six-inch-wide pipeline through the rubble of the collapsed tunnel, allowing the supply of larger quantities of food and live visuals of the 41 workers trapped inside for eight days.
The visuals were captured using an endoscopic camera sent in through the alternative 6-inch food pipeline. The camera is being used to count the trapped workers and understand the internal geography of the tunnel.
In the video, the workers, wearing yellow and white helmets, are seen receiving food items sent to them through the pipeline and talking to each other.
National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) Director Anshu Manish Khalkho had earlier said that cameras would be inserted through the pipeline to see how the workers were doing.
The development came as a big relief to the families of the workers trapped inside the tunnel.
Yogendra Kisku, brother of Virendra Kisku from Bihar’s Banka, said, “Nitin Gadkari ji told us that the rescue will be completed in two-and-a-half days. Our hopes were breaking down. Now, good news is here, images of workers are out…Virendra is not in the photo but our hopes are getting stronger now. Couldn’t celebrate Diwali and Chhath.”
Virendra’s wife also expressed her wish to talk to her husband.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami also posted on X about the development in the Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation.
“For the first time, visuals surfaced of workers trapped in the tunnel under construction in Silkyara, Uttarkashi. All the workers are completely safe, we are trying with all our might to get them out safely soon,” he wrote on X.
VERTICAL DRILLING LIKELY TODAY
Rescue authorities are likely to begin vertical drilling on Tuesday afternoon to reach out to the workers trapped inside the Uttarkashi tunnel for the past 10 days or over 240 hours. Vertical drilling is expected to begin at 2 pm from Silkyara end.
A drone survey was attempted twice at the tunnel site to study the gap between debris and the crown of the tunnel. But it could not go beyond 28 metres over the debris due to obstruction and one drone got damaged.
Meanwhile, the fabrication of a protection canopy for the pipe drilling machine has started. The pushing of the pipe using an auger machine was taken up simultaneously and began early on Tuesday.
(With inputs from Onkar Bahuguna, Amit Bhardwaj, PTI)