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Indian rescuers reach within 5 meters of trapped workers in Himalayan mountains

Indian rescuers reach within 5 meters of trapped workers in Himalayan mountains

International Desk

Indian rescuers, using their bare hands, have made significant progress today, reaching within five meters of the 41 trapped labourers in a collapsed tunnel in the Himalayan mountains, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

The incident, which occurred in the northern state of Uttarakhand, has kept the workers trapped for 16 days.

The breakthrough point is 57 metres, Dhami told reporters at the tunnel site in Silkyara in Uttarkashi district.

He said almost 52 metres of drilling has been done and it is expected that there will be a breakthrough around 57 metres.

"Almost 52 meters have been covered with the insertion of the pipe. The anticipated breakthrough is projected to occur around the 57-meter mark. Before me, one meter of the pipe was already pushed in, and with an additional two meters, it will reach approximately 54 meters. Following this, another pipe will be employed," Chief Minister Dhami told the reporters.

"During the drilling process, earlier findings included steel girders, which have now been minimized. Currently, our exploration is revealing more concrete, and efforts are underway to cut through it using a cutter," he added.

Micro tunnelling expert Chris Cooper of Larsen and Toubro private company said three metres of manual drilling has been done so far and about 50 metres of drilling work has been completed in total.

The speed of the operation depends on whether or not rescuers encounter any hurdle in the course of digging which has often been hampered by something or the other earlier, he pointed out.

Twelve rat-hole mining experts are involved in the horizontal excavation through the last 10 or 12-metre stretch of debris of the collapsed portion of the under-construction tunnel which gave way on November 12.

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