Two of three trapped workers rescued in Bilaspur

21 Sep 2015 | By Shiladitya

A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team rescued two of three workers who were trapped in a tunnel collapse in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh.

The rescue came after the workers were trapped inside for 9 days after the tunnel collapsed on 12th September.

A vertical shaft, 42 metres deep, had to be dug to reach the workers.

The third worker is yet to be found.

In context: The Himachal Pradesh tunnel collapse disaster

12 Sep 2015Rs.82 crore tunnel project meets disaster

Three workers were trapped after a tunnel being built for the Kiratpur-Nerchowk four-lane project collapsed at 8.30 pm.

275 m of the proposed 1.2 km-tunnel had to be excavated when tunnel-4 collapsed, trapping Satish Tomar, Mani Ram and Hirdey Ram.

The Rs.82 crore project (and the workers) was under Chandigarh-based Himalayan Construction Company.

The cause of the sudden collapse is subject to further investigation.

14 Sep 2015Tunnel collapsed due to negligence; army called

The Himachal Pradesh government finally called the army after the Bilaspur tunnel collapsed 2 days ago.

Earth moving excavators which were being used in rescue attempts were damaged by debris, and a heavy-duty hydraulic drill was called from Jaipur to continue operations.

Meanwhile, workers revealed that a 4m long crack which had appeared on the roof of the tunnel could have caused the collapse.

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Rescuers make contact with workers

17 Sep 2015Rescuers make contact with workers

After 5 days of rescue attempts, authorities established contact with two of the workers- Satish Tomar and Mani Ram.

This was achieved after engineers managed to drill a 47 m deep vertical shaft, 4 inches in diameter allowing authorities to supply the workers with food and water.

A remote camera and a microphone were also lowered to facilitate communication.

Hirdey Ram was not found.

20 Sep 2015Technical glitches slowing rescue operation

The heavy-duty hydraulic drill, which was being used to drill a shaft wide enough to evacuate the workers, encountered several glitches.

The rig broke down on the 18th and was subsequently repaired.

With just 1 metre of thick rock left to be drilled, the rig malfunctioned again.

Furthermore, rainwater accumulation slowed progress and a high-power pump had to be installed to counter it.

The obstacles

While the heavy-duty rig was drilling a vertical shaft, there were on-going operations to excavate the mouth of the collapsed tunnel. However, this horizontal route was blocked by more than 60 metres of debris, making the operation futile.

21 Sep 2015Two of three trapped workers rescued in Bilaspur