Saturday, December 9, 2023

Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse: Rescue Operations in Progress as Approximately 40 Individuals Feared Trapped

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Rescue efforts are in progress following the collapse of an under-construction tunnel in Uttarkashi on Sunday. Mritunjay Kumar, the loader operator involved in the rescue, reported that heavy machinery, including excavators, is being utilized to clear debris from the tunnel. The collapse, occurring around 5:30 am, impacted approximately 30-35 meters of the tunnel, with an estimated 40-45 people initially trapped. According to Kumar, ongoing efforts are focused on mucking and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

The State Disaster Response Team (SDRF) is leading the rescue operation, with Uttarkashi District Magistrate Abhishek Ruhela emphasizing the evacuation of trapped workers as the top priority. The district administration has mobilized officers for round-the-clock relief and rescue operations, canceling leaves for all concerned personnel.

SP Arpan Yaduvanshi provided details about the collapse, stating that a section of the tunnel connecting Silkyara to Dandalgaon collapsed the previous night. The incident occurred approximately 200 meters from the starting point on the Silkyara side of Brahmakhal-Polgaon. Reports from the Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL), responsible for the tunnel’s construction, indicate around 36 individuals were feared trapped.

Efforts are underway to open up the tunnel and remove debris, with a focus on rescuing those trapped alive. A joint team from the SDRF and the police is managing the rescue operations. The District Control Room in Uttarkashi received the initial distress call, leading to the prompt dispatch of an SDRF team, equipped for rescue operations.

Upon arrival, the SDRF personnel, under the leadership of Inspector Jagdamba Vijalwan, initiated relief and rescue operations in coordination with other units. The collaborative efforts aim to address the challenging situation and ensure the safe extraction of individuals trapped within the collapsed tunnel.

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