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Rescue Efforts Continue for Trapped Workers in Uttarakhand Tunnel

On Thursday, ambulances were ready to go as Indian rescue teams increased their efforts to find 41 workers trapped in the rubble of a collapsed road tunnel.

Ambulances were poised for action on Thursday as Indian rescue teams intensified efforts to reach 41 workers trapped in the aftermath of a collapsed road tunnel in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. 

The desperate mission has entered its twelfth day, with rescuers confronting the final meters of debris obstructing the tunnel exit.

Specialized Equipment and Preparations for Extraction:

Equipped with specially designed stretchers featuring wheels, rescue teams are prepared to navigate the 57 meters (187 feet) of steel pipe once it punctures the last barrier of earth, concrete, and rubble. 

The exhausted men will be carefully pulled through the pipeline, emerging into a field hospital and emergency vehicles awaiting arrival.

Delays and Challenges Hamper Progress:

Despite meticulous planning and rehearsals, rescue efforts have encountered setbacks, including ongoing debris falls, concerns about additional cave-ins, and mechanical breakdowns of drilling equipment. The remaining 10 to 12 meters (32 to 39 feet) pose uncertainties, but National Disaster Response Force chief Atul Karwal assures readiness for any challenges.

“Work on a War Footing,” Declares Uttarakhand Chief Minister:

Characterizing the operation as being on a “war footing,” Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami underscores the comprehensive approach, involving a dedicated team of doctors, ambulances, helicopters, and a field hospital. 

The situation’s urgency is echoed by senior National Disaster Management Authority official Syed Ata Hasnain, who draws parallels to a battle where timelines are unpredictable.

Himalayan Geology Poses Unprecedented Challenges:

General Hasnain emphasizes the formidable challenges Himalayan geology poses, equating the situation to a battle where the land becomes the adversary. 

The risks rescuers and trapped workers face are underscored by experts, cautioning against extensive construction in Uttarakhand, known for its susceptibility to landslides.

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