Dehradun: Rescue operations are on at full swing at Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The district was ravaged by sudden floods and avalanche after a glacier burst Sunday. Sources said Monday that a massive rescue operation has started since Sunday night to rescue some 39 people believed to be trapped inside a tunnel. Si far 18 persons have died due to the floods and more than 150 are missing.
The 12-foot high and 15-foot wide tunnel at Tapovan in Chamoli was blocked with slush and debris. In the process 39 workers of an NTPC power plant got trapped inside it. The tunnel is over 2.5 km long with just one entry and bifurcates into two, officials said. They added that it was hard to tell where the workers were trapped or whether they were together at all.
An official said it was believed that 34 people were trapped in one of the offshoots and five in the other. There has been no contact with any of them so far. “It will be a 24X7 operation,” the official said.
See video of rescue operation:
Earthmovers and shovels were used by hundreds of ITBP and Indian Army personnel involved in the rescue work. They worked through Sunday night and managed to clear some portion of the tunnel’s opening. The pace of the work to rescue the trapped workers increased Monday morning onwards. Personnel held sticks for better grip as they entered the sludge-filled tunnel.
Rescuers were seen carrying wooden planks. These will be used to wade in through the slush and help create a platform to pull out the trapped people. Teams are on standby with dragon light sets, oxygen cylinders and stretchers to provide immediate help to those brought out.
Over 300 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and 200 others from the army and disaster teams are involved in the operation. “About 100 metres inside the tunnel is cleared and accessible, and it looks like about 100 metres of debris more will have to be cleared. This will take a few more hours,” an ITBP officer was quoted as saying by NDTV.
At least 12 workers were rescued from a smaller tunnel in the same area Sunday evening.
A part of a glacier burst Sunday in Chamoli. It triggered an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations and five bridges. The burst glacier also swept away roads and forced authorities to evacuate villages.
Leave a Reply