Uttarkashi tunnel collapse updates | Rescue teams set 100-hour vertical drilling target

19.2m vertical drilling completed till 7:30 p.m.; six plans are being adopted in a synchronised manner, says NDMA member Lt. Gen. (retd.) Syed Ata Hasnain

November 26, 2023 10:13 am | Updated November 27, 2023 10:39 am IST

Preparation of a protection umbrella is underway inside the Uttarkashi tunnel where the people from the rescue team are working, in Uttarkashi on November 26. A landline facility set up by BSNL here to enable stranded workers to talk to their family members.

Preparation of a protection umbrella is underway inside the Uttarkashi tunnel where the people from the rescue team are working, in Uttarkashi on November 26. A landline facility set up by BSNL here to enable stranded workers to talk to their family members. | Photo Credit: ANI

As the trapped workers complete two weeks stuck inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi, rescuers are switching to different options to reach them. As per the NDMA, vertical drilling started at 12 noon today and been completed for 15 meters. The rescuers need to dig a total of 86 meters to reach the 41 workers. 

Also read: Uttarkashi tunnel collapse updates - November 27

“This operation could take a long time,” National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain said at his media briefing. At the disaster site, international tunnelling expert Arnold Dix repeated his promise of getting the workers out “by Christmas”, which is a month away.

Multiple agencies are working on the rescue efforts. In the latest, the Indian Air Force has also joined in as it flew critical DRDO equipment to Dehradun. After a portion of the tunnel caved in on November 12, the debris falling in the 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side of the tunnel trapped 41 labourers inside the under-construction structure.

Watch: Uttarkashi tunnel collapse | | First visuals of trapped workers emerge

(With inputs from agencies)

Follow updates here:

  • November 26, 2023 22:12
    Vertical boring begins, rescue shaft reaches 20 metres on first day

    Rescuers began drilling into the hill above the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel Sunday, boring nearly 20 metres on the first day of adopting the new approach.

    The vertical approach was one of the at least five options on which preparatory work had begun some days back. 

    As the drilling progresses, 700-mm wide pipes are being inserted to create an escape passage. A little distance away, a thinner, 200-mm probe is being pushed in. It has reached the 70-metre mark.


  • November 26, 2023 21:35
    70-80 metres drilling of an 8-inch pipe done
  • November 26, 2023 21:21
    Speed of work is good: Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Dr Neeraj Khairwal
  • November 26, 2023 20:55
    Anxiety at peak in Jharkhand village as tunnel rescue continues

    In Khirabeda, the anxiety has now reached its peak as three people from this nondescript village on the outskirts of Ranchi are still stuck in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand.

    Read the full story here
  • November 26, 2023 20:16
    19.2m vertical drilling completed till 7:30 p.m.

    19.2 met vertical drilling from the top of Silkyara tunnel being done by SJVNL has been completed till 7:30 p.m. today.

    Rescue teams have set a target of 100 hours to complete vertical drilling, that is by Nov 30, only in case if no hurdles come in between.

  • November 26, 2023 19:58
    Heading towards positive sign: Uttarakhand Secretary and Nodal Officer
  • November 26, 2023 19:31
    15 metres of vertical drilling work completed
  • November 26, 2023 18:58
    Auger machine removal process continues
  • November 26, 2023 18:36
    Indian Army’s engineer regiment called in for manual drilling

    A unit of Madras Sappers, an engineer group of the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army has been called in at Uttarkashi’s Silkyara tunnel for manual drilling. 

    30 personnel of the engineer regiment have arrived at the spot to expedite the rescue operations.

    For manual drilling, the Indian Army along with civilians will do rat boring inside the tunnel.


  • November 26, 2023 18:08
    “Six plans being adopted in synchronised manner”: NDMA
  • November 26, 2023 17:43
    Vertical drilling underway
  • November 26, 2023 17:19
    Drone cameras monitor rescue ops
  • November 26, 2023 17:01
    Broken part of auger machine, which was stuck in the 47-metre long segment, has been retrieved up to 34 metres: NDMA
  • November 26, 2023 16:35
    Six plans are being deployed to rescue 41 workers trapped in Silkyara tunnel; best plan so far is horizontal drilling: NDMA (PTI)
  • November 26, 2023 16:28
    15 meters of Vertical Drilling complete

    Vertical drilling started at around 12 noon, and 86 meters of digging is required to reach the trapped workers, NDMA said.

    Further, 15 meters of vertical drilling has been completed today.

  • November 26, 2023 16:24
    Megna, laser and plasma cutter machines have reached rescue site at Silkyara tunnel to remove broken part of auger machine: NDMA. (PTI)
  • November 26, 2023 15:46
    Rain, snowfall predicted for tomorrow; rescuers to face difficult weather conditions over next two days

    Rain at several parts, and snowfall above 3,500 mt. above sea level is predicted in Uttarkashi district on November 27, where Silkyara tunnel rescue operation is going on.

    The next two days will be even more difficult for rescue teams as chilly weather conditions will prevail.

    - Ishita Mishra

  • November 26, 2023 15:36
    Hopes and despair as rescue efforts continue at Uttarkashi | In pictures

    Hopes and despair as rescue efforts continue at Uttarkashi | In pictures

    The Hindu looks at the rescue efforts that are being carried out at the Silkyara tunnel that collapsed, leaving 41 workers trapped behind a huge mound of debris

  • November 26, 2023 14:54
    Rescuers make eight-metre progress through vertical drilling in last one and half hours

    With vertical drilling underway to further aid the rescue of the trapped workers in Silkyara tunnel, the rescuers managed to make progress over a distance of 8 metres down the ground in the last one and a half hours.

    According to official sources, drilling of up to 8 metres has been completed in the last one and a half years, and currently, the work to lay a 900-mm pipeline is being undertaken.

    Vertical drilling, one of the several chalked-out options to bring out 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel, started on Sunday afternoon.

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 14:22
    Vertical drilling at Silkyara tunnel.
  • November 26, 2023 13:47
    Vertical drilling underway to rescue workers trapped in Uttarkashi tunnel

    Vertical drilling, one of the several chalked-out options to bring out 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi since November 12, finally started on Sunday afternoon.

    Two locations were identified for the vertical drilling, and both are on the Silkyara side of the high-altitude under-construction tunnel, a portion of which caved in on November 12.

    SJVN, a public sector undertaking company involved in hydroelectric power generation and transmission, has just started vertical drilling work on the top of the tunnel atop the hill, the 15th day of continued rescue efforts. 

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 13:15
    “I do not want my son to work in tunnel,” says father of Uttar Pradesh worker trapped in Uttarakhand tunnel

    “I don’t want my son to work further in the tunnel”, says a grieving Chaudhary, father of Manjeet, one of the 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi.

    A resident of Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh, the 50-year-old Chaudhary is suffering from vision loss in one of his eyes.

    Manjeet, 22 years o.ld, has been trapped in the Silkyara Tunnel since November 12.

    Chaudhary said that he does not want his son Manjeet to take up this work again after he is rescued anytime soon.

    Chaudhary said, “Manjeet’s mother, sister and locals are praying to see Manjeet come out safely and return to his village. We will do farming, animal husbandry or start a small business at home.”

    Chaudhary has already lost his elder son Deepu (22) in a bridge construction accident in Mumbai.

    The family is finding it hard to keep both ends meet as Manjeet is the sole breadwinner for the family.

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 12:57
    SJVN begins vertical drilling work on the top of the tunnel
  • November 26, 2023 12:29
    IAF flies in ‘critical DRDO equipment’ to Uttarkashi

    The Indian Air Force flew in ‘critical DRDO equipment’ in an effort to accelerate the rescue of 41 workers, who are trapped inside the collapsed portion of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi for over two weeks now, the IAF informed through an official release.

  • November 26, 2023 11:56
    CM Dhami meets families of trapped workers

    Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited on Sunday the family of Pushkar Singh Airi, a worker from Tanakpur who has been trapped in the Silkyara tunnel for the last 15 days.

    Speaking on the ongoing rescue operations, CM Dhami said that the auger machine cutting that got stuck in the debris of the Silkyara tunnel to rescue the workers is underway and will be completed soon.

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 11:49
    Silkyara tunnel collapse | Trapped in the Himalayas

    On November 12, the Sunday India woke up to celebrate Deepavali and the yearly Char Dham yatra was closed to the public for winter, construction workers were trapped about 60 metres into the tunnel they were building, due to a landslide, at 5 a.m. On one side was the debris and on the other, the mighty mountain through which men and machines were boring. They were extending National Highway 134, cutting short the travel distance from Dharasu to Yamunotri by about 20 km and travel time by about an hour.

    Silkyara tunnel collapse | Trapped in the Himalayas

    Silkyara tunnel collapse: The 41 workers, who were sealed into an under-construction tunnel they were building to ease the journey of pilgrims to Uttarkashi’s Yamunotri shrine in Uttarakhand, remain in its gloomy darkness, with just two pipes as lifelines for food and communication.

  • November 26, 2023 11:29
    Progress is faster this morning: International tunnelling expert Arnold Dix
  • November 26, 2023 11:04
    ‘Every day, we hear 2 more hours’: Anxiety at peak in J’khand village as tunnel rescue hits setback

    In Khirabeda, the anxiety has now reached its peak as three people from this nondescript village on the outskirts of Ranchi are still stuck in the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand where the rescue operation hit another setback.

    The blades of the auger machine drilling through the rubble of the tunnel were on Saturday stuck in the debris, forcing officials to consider switching to options that could drag on the rescue of 41 trapped workers by several days — even weeks.

    Ever since the news reached a paralysed Shravan Bediya, 55, whose only son Rajendra is trapped there, the desperation on his face became palpable even though he is confined to his bed.

    Besides 22-year-old Rajendra, two others from the village — Sukhram and Anil, both in their early twenties, are trapped inside the tunnel for two weeks now.

    Sukhram’s mother Parvati, who is also paralysed, has been inconsolable since she found out about the disaster that happened in Uttarkashi.

    In Anil’s house, his grieving mother has not cooked anything for the last two weeks. The family has been surviving on whatever food their neigbours are providing.

    The rescue effort began November 12 when a portion of the under-construction tunnel on Uttarakhand’s Char Dham route collapsed following a landslide, cutting off the exit for the workers inside.

    - PTI

  • November 26, 2023 10:38
    BSNL steps in to provide landline phone to enable trapped workers to talk to their families

    As part of efforts to provide assurance to 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel and relieve their stress, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has stepped in to provide them with a landline through which they can talk to their families.

    Kundan, a BSNL official, said they are in the process of sending a small landline phone to the stranded workers through the pipe. “Through this, they will be able to talk directly to their families,” he said.

    He said BSNL has set up a small telephone exchange at the tunnel site and the phone will be connected through a line.

    - ANI

  • November 26, 2023 10:16
    Mobile phones, board games given to trapped workers to alleviate stress

    With the rescue operations at Silkyara tunnel facing hurdles, the authorities here have given mobile phones and board games to the 41 trapped workers to alleviate their stress, an official said.

    “The mobile phones have been given so that the workers can play video games. Board games like ludo, and snakes and ladders have also been provided to them,” an official said.

    “These games will help them bust their stress,” another officer said.

    - PTI

  • November 26, 2023 10:13
    Plasma cutter flown in to remove auger blades from rubble

    A plasma cutter was flown in from Hyderabad on Sunday to cut and remove parts of the auger machine stuck in the rubble inside the Silkyara tunnel where 41 labourers have been stranded for the last 14 days.

    A complete disengagement of the machine is necessary for the officials to resume the rescue work which involves manual pushing of pipes through rubble to prepare an escape passage.

    A part of a drill machine has also been sent atop the hill, above the tunnel, for a vertical drilling.

    - PTI

  • November 26, 2023 10:10
    Protection umbrella being laid inside Silkyara tunnel for rescue team

    A protection umbrella is being laid inside the Silkyara tunnel, where 41 workers have been trapped for two weeks, to put up protection for the rescue team, official sources said.

    - ANI

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