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Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: Rescue Work Halted As Debris Fall Again -All You Need To Know

So far, the rescue teams had made significant progress overnight in the ongoing operation to free 40 workers trapped inside the Silkyara Tunnel, with five pipes, each with a diameter of 900 mm and a length of 6 meters, now fully inserted into the debris.

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Drilling work underway in Uttarkashi
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The rescue operations at the Uttarkashi tunnel were briefly halted on Friday following an obstacle caused by the debris which fell towards the drilling machine. As per media reports, the debris started falling towards the machine while inserting the 5th tube into the tunnel.

Following the disaster, the workers promptly rushed out of the tunnel and the operation was stopped for nearly an hour.

Rescue operation so far

The rescue teams had made significant headway overnight in the ongoing operation to free 40 workers trapped inside the Silkyara Tunnel, with five pipes, each with a diameter of 900 mm and a length of 6 meters, now fully inserted into the debris.

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However, the presence of a hard substance within the debris temporarily halted the drilling process.

The obstruction was cleared with the help of diamond-bit machines and drilling resumed right afterwards.

According to the Silkyara Control Room of the Emergency Operation Center, as of 6 AM on Friday, the advanced auger drilling machine had drilled through 25 metres of the accumulated debris within the tunnel.

Officials said a further 30 to 40 metres of debris needed to be cleared to reach the trapped workers. The auger machine was working at its full capacity so the workers could be rescued at the earliest, they added.

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About the 25-ton new auger machine 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had flown in the equipment in parts on their C-130 Hercules transport planes to an airstrip 30 kilometres away, after previous efforts to insert steel pipes into the rubble with the help of a smaller auger machine failed.

The auger machine was flown in after the first drilling machine turned out to be too slow and technical issues developed, the officials said. Also, falling debris inside the tunnel damaged the first equipment and injured two rescue workers on Tuesday.

The 25-ton new auger machine has a capacity to drill 4-5 metres per hour, NHIDCL Director Anshu Manish Khalkho said earlier. After being brought to the site, the machine was installed through the night and made operational on Thursday.

According to Khalkho, "Installation of machine that was airlifted to the site of tunnel collapse in Uttarkashi has been done. Rest of the procedure is being conducted."

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