The workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel at Uttarkashi received some amount of relief as some of the workers spoke to their relatives for the first time after being stuck in the tunnel for 10 days.
In a major breakthrough in the ongoing Silkyara tunnel collapse rescue team officials successfully developed communication with the trapped workers through the 6-inch pipeline on Tuesday morning.
One of the trapped workers, Jaidev, while speaking to the supervisor at the tunnel collapse site, said in Bangla, “Please record, I will tell something to my maa. Maa, tension koroni aami thik achi. Time a kheye nebe. Babakeo time a kheye nite bolbe (Mother, do not worry about me, I am fine. Please you and father eat your meals on time).”
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The supervisor could be heard asking those trapped inside the tunnel to not worry and that they would be evacuated soon.
The supervisor asked the worker whether he wanted to tell anything to his parents as the voice recording would be relayed to his parents back home.
Some of the other trapped workers also established contact with their relatives, and despite being trapped in the tunnel for 10 days now, they displayed an unexceptional level of patience and courage as they asked their relatives to not worry about them.
Meanwhile, Bajrang Dal (Jammu and Kashmir), during the day, organized Havan Yagya for the safety of the 41 trapped workers.
Earlier, International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association president Arnold Dix who is currently overseeing the ongoing rescue efforts at the Uttarkashi tunnel collapse site said that works were being done to get the 6-inch pipeline fully functional.
Arnold Dix said, “The lifeline 6-inch pipeline has been inserted and works are being done to make it fully functional. Works are being done for the auguring of the evacuation tunnel which is being drilled as well. Works are also in progress to create safe places within the tunnel. This is an extremely dangerous environment. We are making it safe for the rescuers there as well. Auguring requires very precise engineering.”
He further said that the American augur machines were not working at the moment and it was in preparation.
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Earlier today, rescuers managed to insert an endoscopy camera into the tunnel and the first visuals captured showed the 41 workers had ample space inside the tunnel for them to move about.
The rescue team was seen clearly talking to the workers trapped in the tunnel through the pipeline. The rescue team requested the workers to come in front of the endoscopic flexi camera which was inserted through the pipeline. A worker took out the camera from the pipeline and held it inside the confined space so that everyone could be identified.
All the 41 trapped workers assembled near the camera and the rescue team asked them to clean the screen of the camera. The rescue team informed them that the pipeline would be cleaned with water and a blower so they asked them to keep back the camera and get away from the pipeline and the compressor.
The collapse occurred on November 12 during the construction of a tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot, trapping 41 labourers due to a muck fall in a 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side of the tunnel. The workers are believed to be trapped in a 2 km-built tunnel portion, which is complete with concrete work that provides safety to the workers. This portion of the tunnel has access to electricity and water.