Rescuers Cut Side Tunnel That May Carry Trapped Men | India News
“We have successfully drilled a 75mm wide and 12m long hole to the sediment wash tunnel (which carries sediment and debris out of the dam tunnel) on Friday night… The good sign is no look at water pressure or mud in the tunnel now, ”ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey told TOI. “However, we were unable to insert a chamber into the sediment wash tunnel due to technical difficulties.”
The rescue team, with personnel from the NDRF, the Army and the ITBP, will now work overnight to expand this opening. “A larger diameter hole will be made. A drilling machine has been deployed to do that. The goal is to get the hole to be 250-300mm in diameter, “said Pandey.
About 180 m from the mouth of the main tunnel, there is a bend. The mud that came through the tunnel due to the flooding is believed to have slowed or decreased at this point. Men could be trapped somewhere beyond this curve. The original plan was to carve a passage directly through the tunnel to this point. But that didn’t go far. The swamp-filled tunnel, where water keeps coming in and undoing the work that has been done to clear debris, had been difficult to navigate and they only cleared about 100 meters of the passage.
So on Wednesday, rescuers switched to the drilling plan: digging vertically at a point 70 meters from the tunnel mouth to enter the sediment discharge tunnel that should reach the trapped men. But this plan had to be abandoned on Thursday when the drill hit a rock and could not continue. Hours later, the waters of the Dhauliganga began to rise and a key was thrown back into the works. When operations finally resumed, the rescue team reverted to the original plan of collecting the debris.
On Friday, they changed gears again: A special drilling machine was brought in, provided by Tehri Development Corporation Limited, a source told TOI. And this time it worked. By Friday afternoon, they had drilled up to 10 meters and by night, they had reached the sediment wash tunnel. Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said: “There is a possibility that workers are trapped in this auxiliary tunnel.”