New Delhi, November 15
As the rescue mission for the 40 trapped labourers in Uttarkashi entered its fourth day on Wednesday, the Uttarakhand Government has turned to specialised teams from Thailand, known for their successful rescue of children trapped in a flooded cave in July 2018.
Despite utilising excavators to create an escape tunnel with steel pipes, rescuers are grappling with challenges in penetrating iron pipes through the heaps of rubble and boulders. In a statement issued by the Uttarakhand Government, it was revealed that assistance was now being sought from special teams in Norway and Thailand.
The government has reached out to a Thai rescue company, which played a pivotal role in the successful rescue of children from a cave in Thailand. Additionally, contact has been established with the Norwegian Geological Institute (NGI) to seek specialised advice for the tunnel operation. In July 2018, 12 members of a junior association football team, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old assistant coach were rescued from Tham Luang Nang Non, a cave system in Chiang Rai province of northern Thailand.
Meanwhile, rescue efforts in the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel face significant challenges. The attempt to penetrate iron pipes through approximately 40 metres of rubble is further complicated by fresh debris and muck falling from the roof, hindering progress. The authorities are grappling with boulders blocking the creation of an evacuation passage, making drilling for the penetration of 800-900 mm pipes a formidable task.
Anshu Manish Khalkho, Director of National Highway and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, highlighted the fragile nature of the rock, prompting the airlifting of the latest machines from Delhi to expedite rescue operations. These machines, equipped with steel pipes, are vital for breaking through debris and reaching the trapped labourers on the other side. These machines have a capacity to clear debris at a rate of around five metres per hour. The Uttarakhand Government is also consulting experts from various organisations.
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