Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: Rescue Operation Hindered After Landslide, Technical Issues In Drilling Machine

Uttarkashi Tunnel Collapse: The rescue work was affected when the landslide caused fresh rubble to fall from above, causing a stampede-like situation that left two labourers injured.

Rescue operations on inside Uttarkashi tunnel.

Operations to rescue 40 labourers trapped under a collapsed tunnel's debris here for the last three days have been hampered after a landslide at the site and technical issues in a drilling machine being used to create an escape passage, officials said.

The labourers are safe, and oxygen, electricity, medicines, food items and water are being constantly supplied to them, they said, PTI reported.

Rubble from the landslide fell on the collapsed part of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel on Tuesday night, hampering operations as well as injuring two rescue workers, it said. 

They are being treated at a makeshift hospital, the officials said. 

A new platform is being built inside the tunnel for another drilling machine, which is on the way, an official at the police control room set up near the site, Sanjit Uniyal, said on Wednesday.  

Some more equipment is being brought from Delhi by air to aid rescue efforts, according to officials of the state and national disaster response forces. They added that the drilling machine at the site is facing some technical problems. 

The Tuesday landslide hampered efforts to insert steel pipes through the tunnel's debris to create the passage.

Talks have been held with the Indian Air Force and soon bigger machines will be sent to the spot from Delhi so that the stranded workers can be taken out of the tunnel at the earliest.

Rescue Operation Underway:

Earlier, on Tuesday the day went into preparing a platform inside the tunnel to position the auger machine for drilling through the rubble.

However, the rescue work was affected when the landslide caused fresh rubble to fall from above, causing a stampede-like situation that left two labourers injured. 

They were sent to the temporary hospital set up near the tunnel, the report said.

The drilling machine and the pipes arrived at the site early on Tuesday.

Rescue Plan:

The plan is to push through both 800- and 900-millimetre diameter sections of mild steel pipes -- one after the other -- into the rubble using drilling equipment and create an escape passage for the workers who, officials said earlier, are safe and being provided with oxygen, water, food packets and medicines through tubes.

There are eight 900-millimetre diameter pipes with a length of six metres each and five pipes of 800-millimetre diameter of the same length, the State Emergency Operation Centre said.

Trapped workers safe:

Some medicines have been supplied as one of the trapped workers was feeling nauseous, the report 

The son of Gabbar Singh Negi, one of the trapped labourers, was allowed to speak to his father for a few seconds on Tuesday, the report mentioned.

"He said they are safe. He asked us not to worry," Akash Singh Negi was quoted as having said.


A part of the tunnel being built between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway caved in on Sunday following a landslide. The 30-metre collapsed section is 270 metres from the mouth of the tunnel from the Silkyara side, the State Emergency Operation Centre in Dehradun said.

Identification of workers:

According to a list of the trapped workers issued by the District Emergency Operation Centre, 15 are from Jharkhand, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five from Odisha, four from Bihar, three from West Bengal, two each from Uttarakhand and Assam, and one from Himachal Pradesh.